No. 2 UVa and No. 14 Cornell Travel to Baltimore on Saturday for Face-Off Classic
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia Cavaliers (5-1) are ranked No. 2 this week in both the USILA coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse media polls after falling at No. 1 Syracuse on March 4. UVa put itself back in the win column on Tuesday night, defeating a Vermont team receiving votes in both polls, 14-6. The Cavaliers play their first neutral game of the year against the Cornell Big Red (3-1) in the fifth-annual Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic. The Big Red are ranked this week No. 14 in the USILA coaches poll and No. 9 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll. The Cavaliers and Big Red are set to tussle on Saturday afternoon, inside Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.
There will be a live audio webcast on VirginiaSports.com through Virginia Sports Online Radio. John Freeman will bring the play-by-play and Vincent Briedis will provide the analysis. ESPNU will televise the game live in HD with Eamon McAnaney calling the play-by-play, Quint Kessenich providing analysis and Paul Carcaterra roaming the sidelines.
This is Virginia’s third all-time appearance in the Face-Off Classic, defeating Syracuse in 2007 (11-8) and 2008 (14-13 OT). UVa is also 4-0 all-time in events hosted by Inside Lacrosse after spending the past two seasons as participants in the Big City Classic. The Cavaliers boasted ACC wins over North Carolina in 2009 (11-10) and 2010 (7-5).
Virginia head coach Dom Starsia brings 321 career victories into the contest, needing seven more triumphs to pass Jack Emmer (326) for most victories by a head coach while at a NCAA Division I school.
Steele Stanwick leads UVa with 27 points and 14 assists, while scoring 13 goals. Chris Bocklet has 18 goals so far, while Shamel Bratton is tied for second on the team with 13 goals after scoring nine goals and 10 points over his last two games. Matt Cockerton is No. 4 on the team with nine goals, while Colin Briggs has chipped in seven scores. Adam Ghitelman won his 42nd career game in the cage on Tuesday against Vermont and is tied for the all-time ACC mark, as well as for No. 7 all-time amongst NCAA DI goalies. Ghitelman shares both spots with Duke’s Dan Loftus, who accomplished the feat over five seasons from 2004-08. Ghitelman is saving 59.0 percent of shots against him in 2011 and is posting a 7.58 goals against average.
Saturday marks the third-straight season the Cavaliers and Big Red have faced each other in a series in which UVa holds a 6-3 all-time advantage. The all-time series began during the regular season in 1971, a game contested in Charlottesville. The next five meetings took place in the NCAA Tournament before the next regular season matchup, the 2009 contest at Klöckner Stadium. Cornell’s Ben DeLuca enters his first season as the Big Red’s head coach, taking over a program that he has spent 16 years with as a player and assistant coach. DeLuca has been instrumental helping the program reach at least the NCAA semifinal round in three of the past four seasons, including playing for the NCAA title in 2009.
Rob Pannell leads the way for Cornell with nine goals and 15 assists for 24 points, helping the Big Red to a 3-1 record, falling only at No. 19 Army on March 5. Roy Lang is second on the team with six goals, while Cody Bremner is adding five goals for the Big Red. AJ Fiore is saving 46.7 percent of shots in the cage, while posting a 7.23 goals against average.
In the last meeting between these teams in Ithaca, N.Y., in 2010, UVa won handily 12-4. Bocklet, Rhamel Bratton, Shamel Bratton and Briggs all had two goals in the victory, while Ghitelman made 14 saves in goal, allowing three goals.
Virginia returns home on March 19 when Ohio State comes to Klöckner Stadium for the first time since 2001. Faceoff is slated for 3 p.m.
Tickets for Virginia home 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 2011 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 2011 season.