No. 10 UVa and No. 4 Denver Face Off Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in NCAA Semifinals
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia Cavaliers (11-5) enter the semifinal round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament as the No. 7 seed, the program’s lowest seed since 2001 when UVa was the No. 8 seed. It is the program’s fourth-straight semifinal appearance. In the final regular season polls, UVa was ranked No. 10 in the USILA coaches poll and No. 9 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll. UVa will face the No. 6 seeded Denver Pioneers (15-2) on Saturday. Denver was ranked No. 4 in both final regular season polls. The neutral site game will be contested at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. The game is set to face off at 4 p.m. Live stats will be available at VirginiaSports.com.
The victor will advance to the NCAA final at M&T Bank Stadium on May 30 and will face the winner of No. 5 seed Duke and unseeded Maryland for the title.
There will be a live radio broadcast in the Charlottesville area on WINA 1070 AM, which will be simulcast as an audio webcast on VirginiaSports.com through Virginia Sports Online Radio. John Freeman will bring the play-by-play and Doug Tarring will provide the analysis.
The game will be televised on ESPN2 in HD. Sean McDonough will provide the play-by-play, Quint Kessenich will add analysis and Eamon McAnaney will patrol the sidelines.
This is Virginia’s 34th tournament appearance overall, second all-time behind Johns Hopkins (40). Virginia won the national championship five years ago (2006) and has received a bid in 18 of the last 19 seasons. UVa has made it to the semifinal round in each of the past four seasons and 13 times in head coach Dom Starsia’s 19 seasons in Charlottesville.
After UVa’s quarterfinal win over Cornell, Starsia passed legendary coach Jack Emmer (326) for most victories by a head coach at a NCAA Division I school. He brings 327 career victories inot the Denver contest.
Saturday’s contest marks the sixth all-time meeting between UVa and Denver, and the first since the Cavaliers’ 2006 NCAA title season. Virginia leads the series with a 4-1 record, with the home team winning each meeting. Denver’s lone win was over then No. 1 UVa in 2004, the Cavaliers only season not making it to the NCAA Tournament under Starsia.
ACC Player of the Year and Tewaaraton finalist Steele Stanwick leads UVa with 64 points and 35 assists, while scoring 29 goals. Chris Bocklet is tops on the team with 41 goals and has 46 points. Bocklet enters the week with the nation’s longest consecutive game goal streak at 34 games. All-ACC pick Colin Briggs is next on the team with 24 goals. All-ACC honoree Chris LaPierre leads the team with 88 ground balls through the first 16 games, and through 11 games (65) bested UVa goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman’s 2010 team-best of 62 in 18 games.
Ghitelman has 48 career wins in the cage and is No. 4 all-time at the NCAA Division I level, needing one win to tie Air Force’s Ken Wessels (1984-87) for the No. 3 spot. Ghitelman is saving 53.2 percent of shots against him and registering a 9.81 goals against average this season.
Bill Tierney enters his second season as the Pioneers’ head coach after winning six NCAA titles in 22 seasons as the head coach at Princeton. Tierney is 27-7 in two years at Denver and boasts a career mark of 287-95 over 24 seasons. Tierney is 9-11 all-time against UVa, but is 3-0 in NCAA Tournament play as the former head coach of the Tigers. Mark Matthews leads Denver with 45 goals and 69 points. Alex Demopoulos has a team-best 28 assists and Chase Carraro has a team-high 97 ground balls. Jamie Faus is saving 57 percent of shots against him in the cage and is posting an 8.22 goals against average.
Tickets may be purchased online via Ticketmaster by clicking here, or by calling the Baltimore Ravens ticket office at (410) 261-7283.