Virginia faces Vermont Tuesday night in its eighth game in the first 24 days of the season. The game is scheduled to face off at 7 pm.
Vermont is coached by former UVa All-American defenseman Ryan Curtis, the 2000 National Defenseman of the Year. The Catamounts have won both games this season in close fashion and are one of only seven undefeated teams remaining; they are off to their best start in eight years when they began 3-0.
This is the second year in a row the teams have clashed. Last season Virginia gained a 15-4 win in Charlottesville.
Senior attackman Andrew Kelleher leads the nation with an average of 4.5 goals per game this season. He erupted for a career-high five goals the last time out against Dartmouth. He is also ranked third nationally in scoring averaging 5.0 points per game.
Senior goalie Justin Lubas is in his second year as the starter between the pipes. He recorded 14 saves in last season’s match-up with Virginia and is ranked 18th nationally with a .579 save percentage.
While the Catamounts are making their spring break trip south, the Cavaliers are readying themselves for the final midweek game of the season. The early part of the season has been grueling with eight games in 24 days, a stretch unprecedented in school history.
With just one today to prepare following yesterday’s battle against Cornell, head coach Dom Starsia likens the plethora of games to what happens in the postseason, whether it is the ACC Tournament or the NCAA Tournament.
“Playing all of this lacrosse, the most important weekends of the year there are multiple competitions involved,” he said. “Turning around and getting ready to play on Tuesday night (against Vermont) is not going to be an easy chore for us, but we need to do it.
“When we’re in the middle of all these games, I’m always wishing I had more time to prepare. Then when we don’t have these midweek games, I’m wishing that we had more games for some of the other guys to be able to play. You’re trying to do the best you can, trying to figure all this out. I like the fact that we’re playing these games and we’re dealing with it. We’re just going to have to turn around on Tuesday and play again.”
Cavalier faceoff specialist Chad Gaudet, this week’s ACC Player of the Week, is perhaps the most familiar player on the roster with Vermont. He faced the Catamounts the previous two years while playing at Dartmouth before coming to UVa to use his final season of eligibility. Gaudet has helped lead the Cavaliers to one of their most successful seasons at the faceoff X in several years. They are ranked eighth in winning percentage (.601), while Gaudet is 14th (.583).
Virginia is ranked second in the country in offense with an average of 14.14 goals per game. They are also ninth in defense, relinquishing an average of just 6.86 goals per game.
** Vermont is a member of the America East Conference (along with Albany, Binghamton, Hartford, UMBC, and Stony Brook)
** Among AE members, Virginia has played Albany, UMBC and Stony Brook in the past
** The Cavaliers downed Stony Brook 20-10 two weeks ago to run their winning streak against AE teams to 15 in a row
** Virginia is 23-2 all-time vs. AE schools, including a 13-2 mark vs. UMBC, 7-0 against Stony Brook and 1-0 vs. Albany, Binghamton and Vermont
** Vermont head coach Ryan Curtis played collegiately at UVa where he was an All-American defenseman for Dom Starsia from 1997-2000
** Curtis won the Schmeisser Cup as the nation’s outstanding defenseman in 1999 when the Cavaliers won their first national championship in 27 years
** Starsia is 6-1 against his former players, including 4-1 vs. Jamie Munro (Denver) and 1-0 vs. Lars Tiffany (Stony Brook, but now at Brown) and Curtis
** Virginia has a 19-game winning streak going back to 2001 in reguiar-season midweek games
** The Cavaliers are 23-1 in night games at Klckner Stadium and win by an average of 8.7 goals