No. 1 UVa and No. 3 Cornell Set Stage for Saturday's Charm City Clash
CHARLOTTESVILLE Va. – The Virginia Cavaliers (6-0) are ranked No. 1 this week in both the USILA coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse media polls and are coming off home wins over then-No. 3 Syracuse and Vermont. Next up for UVa is the Cornell Big Red (3-0), ranked No. 3 in both the coaches and media polls. The 2012 edition of the series brings UVa back to Baltimore a second-consecutive season for the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic. Faceoff is set for 1:30 p.m. Live stats will be available at VirginiaSports.com. It is UVa’s first appearance inside Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium since winning the 2011 NCAA title on Memorial Day last May.
There will be a live audio webcast on VirginiaSports.com through Cavaliers Live. John Freeman will bring the play-by-play and Doug Tarring will provide the analysis. ESPNU will televise the game live in HD with Eamon McAnaney bringing the play-by-play, Quint Kessenich providing color analysis and Paul Carcaterra roaming the sidelines. There also will be a web simulcast on ESPN3.
Saturday will mark Virginia’s 11th contest all-time in M&T Bank Stadium, the home of the Baltimore Ravens. UVa holds an 8-2 record inside the edifice, including winning the 2003 & 2011 NCAA titles and the 2006 ACC title. The losses were to Maryland in the 2005 ACC Tournament and to Duke in the 2010 NCAA semifinal round.
The 2012 season marks the fourth-straight season the Cavaliers and Big Red have faced each other in a series in which UVa holds an 8-3 all-time advantage. The 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, a 2009 contest at Klöckner Stadium. UVa has won three games in a row over Cornell since dropping the 2009 NCAA semifinal round meeting. The Cavaliers faced the Big Red twice in 2011, defeating the Ivy League school in the 2011 Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic and then in the NCAA quarterfinal round at Hofstra. The 13-9 triumph in Hempstead, N.Y., gave UVa head coach Dom Starsia his 327th career head coaching win, breaking the record for a head coach at the Division I level.
Saturday will mark the 60th career game and start for Steele Stanwick. He currently leads UVa with 19 assists and 26 points. Stanwick sits No. 5 all-time at UVa with 111 career assists. No. 4, Jay Connor, is 18 assists away at 129. Chris Bocklet has a team-high 15 goals and 116 career scores, needing three to tie Danny Glading for No. 7 all-time at UVa in career goals. Chris LaPierre has been stellar between the lines, picking up a team-best 32 ground balls, needing 25 more to become the 31st Cavalier to reach the 200 career ground ball plateau. Rob Fortunato is saving 64.1 percent of shots against him and posting a 6.66 goals against average in between the pipes.
Ben DeLuca enters his second season as the Big Red’s head coach, taking over a program in 2011 that he spent 16 years with as a player and assistant coach. DeLuca is 17-3 so far as a collegiate head coach, guiding the Big Red to the 2011 Ivy League title. Of his three career losses, two have come at the hands of the Cavaliers. Cornell will be without Rob Pannell, its All-America attackman, who leads the Big Red with nine assists and 16 points. Pannell broke a bone in his foot during Cornell’s win over Army on Saturday and will not be available against the Cavaliers. The next men up for the Big Red are Steve Mock (10 goals, two assists), Matt Donovan (seven goals, four assists) and former Cavalier Connor English (five goals, three assists). Doug Tesoriero has picked up a team-high 25 ground balls and is winning 68.1 percent of faceoffs (47-of-69). Andrew West leads Cornell with two starts in goal and is saving 57.1 percent of shots and posting a 6.00 goals against average.
Virginia returns to action on March 17 when the Cavaliers make their second-ever trip to Columbus, Ohio, to face Ohio State. Faceoff is set for 1 p.m.