No. 1 Virginia and No. 2 North Carolina to Clash on Saturday in Big City Classic
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – For the fifth-straight week, Virginia (10-0, 1-0 ACC) graces the No. 1 position in both the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media and USILA coaches polls. UVa will travel for the second-consecutive year to East Rutherford, N.J., to take part in the Konica Minolta Big City Classic hosted by Inside Lacrosse. The Cavaliers will face the No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels (10-0, 2-0 ACC) on Saturday afternoon, inside the New Meadowlands Stadium.
The Big City Classic matchup featuring ACC rivals has shaped itself as one of epic proportions in regular season history, as the No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup is part of the first event in the brand-new NFL edifice. Faceoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. Live stats will be available at VirginiaSports.com.
The game will also be broadcast in the Charlottesville area on WINA AM 1070 with John Freeman calling the action and Doug Tarring doing the color broadcast. ESPNU will televise the contest in HD with Carter Blackburn providing the play-by-play, along with Quint Kessenich serving as the color analyst.
The Cavaliers were nearly the unanimous No. 1 pick, receiving all possible No. 1 votes in the coaches poll and all but two in the media poll. North Carolina snatched the two No. 1 votes missing next to the Cavaliers’ name.
Saturday marks the 71st all-time meeting between the Cavaliers and the Tar Heels, a series that began in 1938 and which the Cavaliers own a 46-24 advantage. Facing each other every year since 1964, UVa came away with a narrow 11-10 triumph in 2009 over UNC in the last meeting, during the inaugural Big City Classic in the Old Meadowlands. Ironically the event was the very first lacrosse game played in the building that closed after the 2009 NFL season. In that contest Virginia used a 7-1 run to erase a four-goal deficit en route to the victory. Shamel Bratton led Virginia with three goals and one assist, while Danny Glading chipped in three scores of his own.
Virginia opened up ACC play with a victory for the second-straight year and for the fifth out of the last six seasons as they rode out of College Park, Md., with an 11-10 triumph over No. 4 Maryland (April 3) the last time out. Virginia used four-goal games from Chris Bocklet and Steele Stanwick to help Virginia open up a season with 10-straight victories for the second year in a row. Bocklet shared ACC Player of the Week honors with UNC’s Billy Bitter for his exploits over Maryland.
Bocklet leads Virginia with 30 goals and 39 points on the season, while Stanwick holds the team lead with 19 assists. Brian Carroll and Stanwick (35 points) are tied for second on the team with 16 goals. Rhamel Bratton has chipped in 15 scores, while freshman Matt White has 12 goals and has tallied at least one point in every game of his young collegiate career. Ken Clausen has a team-best 37 ground balls and his 2.5 caused turnovers per game ranks No. 3 nationally. Goalie Adam Ghitelman is saving 53.1 percent of the shots against him, while posting a 7.65 goals-against average.
North Carolina head coach Joe Breschi is in his second season at North Carolina and returns 28 letterwinners from last year’s 12-6 squad. The Tar Heels are currently ranked No. 2 in both the media and coaches poll and Saturday’s game marks UNC’s first against a higher ranked opponent this season. For the first time this season the Tar Heels have been ranked No. 2 by the coaches poll, jumping Syracuse after the Orange had held on to the No. 2 spot since falling at UVa on March 7.
Bitter leads the UNC offense with 31 points and 16 assists to go with his 15 goals. Sean DeLaney leads all Tar Heels with 20 goals, while Thomas Wood has chipped in 19 scores. Chris Madalon is saving 58.0 percent of shots inside the pipes, while registering a 6.23 goals-against average.
Two other solid matchups also make up the Big City Classic triple-header as CAA foes Delaware and Hofstra kick off the event at 1 p.m. No. 3 Syracuse and No. 4 Princeton immediately follow the UVa and UNC game at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU in HD.
Virginia continues ACC play on Saturday, April 17, when the Cavaliers host No. 6 Duke at Klöckner Stadium. Game time is 8:30 p.m. and it will be broadcast in the Charlottesville area on WINA AM 1070 with John Freeman calling the action. The contest will be televised live on ESPNU.
Tickets for Virginia lacrosse games can be purchased online at VirginiaSports.com, by phone at (800) 542-8821 or in person at the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Virginia lacrosse season tickets for 2010 are $30 (adult general admission) and $20 (youth, senior, faculty/staff general admission).
Single-game tickets to lacrosse games are $7 (adult general admission), and $5 (youth, senior, faculty/staff general admission).
All reserved seats are sold out for the 2010 season.