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May 10, 2010
6:12 a.m.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — It started about 20 minutes late Sunday night, thanks to a college baseball game in California that ran long, but the selection show for the NCAA’s Division I men’s lacrosse tournament was broadcast live on ESPNU.

Virginia, as expected, was awarded the No. 1 seed in the 16-team tournament for the second straight. The Cavaliers will host Mount St. Mary’s — a team they whipped 15-7 at Emmitsburg, Md., early in the regular season — at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Klöckner Stadium.

UVa’s Dom Starsia was among the coaches who were interviewed by phone during the selection show, and some of his comments follow. Most of Starsia’s team was in Baltimore on Saturday for the funeral of UVa women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love. Starsia’s father passed away Friday in Ivy.

*On the events of the past week:

“It’s been such extraordinary circumstances. So tragic on so many different levels. I find myself, even at this point, certainly with a lingering sense of disbelief for all that has gone on. Just trying to help my family get along here and help our team recover and begin to be able to move forward. There are so many things that need to happen here on a personal level that the lacrosse piece of this has been a little secondary until closer to today.”

*On his team’s return to the practice field:

“We started our exam period here on Thursday and gave them off the first couple days of exams. That’s been our regular routine, so we followed that. We hadn’t met since Wednesday, and we were all anxious to get back together today.

“I met with the captains earlier in the day today. And then we were able to get on the practice field this afternoon, and I can tell you, I think for everyone it was a relief to be able to get out and run around a little bit. I think that’s just the beginning of it. I think we take this in small pieces and move very slowly. But we’d also like to see if we can put some of this back together again.”

*On what he discussed with his captains:

“I felt last week we were sort of given permission to play again. But for me today I needed that sort of confirmed. The team went up to Baltimore yesterday for the funeral services, and came back today, and I needed to talk to those guys that are so close to this and see if we had the energy and desire to go for it on the lacrosse field. So with the blessing of the Love family and the knowledge that the women were going to play and wanted us to play, I still felt like I needed to talk to the fellows and find out if that’s how they all felt.

“I think there was a sense today that we want to get on with this and begin the process of having our lives return to normal.”

*On his feelings about continuing the season:

“To be honest with you, playing in the tournament was not that important to me. I had so many different things going on here. People were speculating about whether or not we might play, and I certainly heard those different things. I didn’t know whether or not that was going to be the case or not, whether or not we were going to be given permission to play. But whether or not we could play itself really wasn’t that important to me.

“It was more important that we could bring these young people back together, for both the men’s and women’s teams, and help them begin to move forward. And for me personally, to be together with my family and do the things that we needed to do.

“And even at this point, I would tell you that the end result of the NCAA tournament, even our first-round game, is not the biggest priority in my life. Like I say, we’re going to take this in small pieces and just try to move from day to day.”

*On his players’ mindset:

“I think everyone feels the same way. I think we’re a very close team, a very close program. I think the men’s and women’s programs here are the same. Very close to each other, and lots of people have the same kind of feelings.

“I think that they’re still out there, but I think we can return back to a little bit more normal pace, and I think we can get this back up to speed again. I talked to the team today about not being so consumed about the end result of the game, but trying to come together again as a lacrosse team, trying to return to a point where we could play our best. If it happens that we’re able to move in that direction as we start this tournament, then so be it. But our opportunity to be together and start to heal a little, that was the first priority.”

*On whether UVa men’s lacrosse will be viewed negatively by some outside the program:

“The whole thing is as hurtful as it could be. People are going to have whatever perception they want to have. I don’t think there’s any question that the eyes of the nation are going to be on us a little bit here. All we can do is take care of the things that we can control right now, and [that is] trying to get our academic house in order here — we had to postpone some academic things, some exams, from last week into this week — and try to prepare ourselves to return to the lacrosse field.

“If along the way we can put out a good effort and do it in an honorable way, then that’s all that we can really do, and that’s what we’ll be primarily responsible for at this point.”

Jeff White

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