This game pits two of the nation's hottest teams. The Cavaliers have won seven in a row, including wins over Syracuse, Princeton and Johns Hopkins and are currently ranked third in the coaches poll with a 7-1 record. After dropping back-to-back games early in the season, the Terps have rebounded with a five-game winning streak. They are ranked 10th this week with a 7-2 record. Watch the ACCSelectWebcast by clicking here
Radio: WINA AM 1070 in Charlottesville is providing live play-by-play coverage of this game. Mac McDonald calls all the action. He is joined by Doug Tarring, a member of UVa's 1972 national championship team.
The Series vs. the Terrapins
Maryland leads the all-time series with Virginia by a 43-34 margin. The rivalry between the two schools goes all the way back to 1926, the second year of the Virginia program. The teams have met at least once every season since 1950, making this the second-longest current series of any Virginia opponent (behind Johns Hopkins, 1948).
Maryland has had the upper hand in games played in Charlottesville, winning 17 of 33 games. Virginia, however, has had the better of it at Klöckner Stadium by taking seven of the nine games played there. The Terrapins won their first regular season game at Klöckner in 2003. (They also won an ACC Tournament game in 1998).
Virginia won both games last season--15-5 in the regular season in College Park and 11-5 in the championship game of the ACC Tournament in Baltimore.
The Cavaliers have not won more than two games in a row since winning five straight from 1999-2001.
Cavaliers Open ACC Play This Week
Virginia opens its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule this weekend against Maryland. Curiously, the other ACC schools have completed their conference schedule except for playing Virginia, while the Cavaliers are just starting.
Virginia is 40-13 all-time in ACC openers. When their ACC opener is at home the Cavaliers are 20-6 all-time.
Virginia Offense Third in Nation
The Cavaliers led the nation last season in scoring with an average of 15.8 goals per game. It marked the fourth time since 1996 they had the nation's leading offense (also led in 1996-97-99).
The offense is producing at a high rate once again this season (although not at last year's clip). Virginia is currently third in the nation with an average of 13.3 goals per game. Albany leads at 13.9, while Cornell is second at 13.5.
There have been seven games this year when a team has scored at least 20 goals and both Virginia and Delaware have done it twice.
UVa's 23 goals against Mount St. Mary's earlier this month are tied for the most in a game this season. Delaware also scored 23 against St. Joseph's.
Defense Among Nation's Best
The Virginia offense has been very productive so far this season and ranks third in the nation with an average of 13.3 goals per game.
The defense is determined not to be outdone and has been particularly stingy this spring. The Cavalier defenders--led by close d-men Ricky Smith, Matt Kelly and Ken Clausen, and LSMs Mike Timms and Tim Shaw, as well as stopper Kip Turner-spearhead the nation's seventh-leading defense. The Cavaliers relinquish an average of 6.5 goals per game. Only Drexel (11) has scored more than nine goals vs. Virginia this season.
Stony Brook, VMI and Johns Hopkins have scored their fewest goals of the season vs. Virginia, while Syracuse and Princeton both have their second-lowest output of the season against the Cavaliers.
Of Virginia's eight opponents this season, only Drexel and Mount St. Mary's have scored more against the Cavaliers than their season average.
UVa is one of only four teams (along with Cornell, Delaware and Navy) ranked in the top 10 in the country in both defense and offense.
Green Grass of Klöckner Bodes Well
After losing their home opener to Drexel last month at the UHall Turf Field and having their 19-game home winning streak snapped, the Cavaliers have returned to Klöckner Stadium.
Virginia is riding a 20-game winning streak at Klöckner Stadium dating back to the 2004 season. The Cavaliers have been 7-0 at Klöckner the last two years, their best record ever there.
Overall Virginia is 69-12 (.852) at Klöckner since moving there in 1993.
Good Shooting Leads to Wins
The Cavaliers have done a much better job of shooting since dropping their season opener to Drexel a month ago.
After finishing second in the nation in shooting a year ago, their season got off to a rocky start with the 11-10 loss at home to the Dragons. One of the key factors in the loss was subpar shooting. Virginia shot just 21.7 percent (10x46), their lowest in 12 games going back to last year's 7-6 win over Princeton when UVa shot 15.9 percent.
The Wahoos rebounded against Stony Brook the following week by shooting 35.7 percent (15x42). Midfielder Jack Riley led the way by scoring on four of his five shots, while Danny Glading connected on four of 10.
The shooting was even better on a sunny day in Baltimore in the win over Syracuse in the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Classic when Virginia needed just 28 shots to score 11 goals against the Orange.
Since the Drexel game Virginia has shot 30-percent or better four times (and just missed with 29 percent vs. Towson).
When the Cavaliers shoot at least 30 percent they have had remarkable success recently. Since 1998 Virginia is 68-5 (.932) when shooting 30+ percent.
Rubeor Leads Nation in Scoring, Goals
Junior attackman Ben Rubeor has been tearing it up during the first six weeks of the season. He opened the year with a 4-goal, 4-assist performance against Drexel and hasn't slowed since.
He has scored at least one goal in every game this season, to run his streak to 11 games in a row with at least one. In addition, he has tallied three goals on six occasions, including a career-high seven against Towson.
Not only has he been scoring goals at a high rate, he has helped his teammates score at a nearly similar pace. He has had an assist in seven of eight games so far this spring with a high of four vs. Drexel.
Rubeor was named the ACC Player of the Week for his play in guiding the Cavaliers to wins over VMI and Princeton. Against VMI he tied his career high at the time with five goals. He scored twice against Princeton, including the game winner with 25.4 seconds left to play.
The Towson, Md., native torched Towson for seven goals, tied for the third-highest total in school history.
In last week's win at Johns Hopkins he scored three times and had one assist in UVa's 7-5 victory.
Rubeor leads the nation with 43 points (29, 14a), 10 more than Duke's Matt Danowski.
He also sits atop the goals scored list with 29, five more than Bucknell's Joe Mele.
Rubeor's 13 assists are tied for eighth nationally.
Rubeor and Maryland's Michael Phipps are the only players in the country to rank in the top 10 in points, goals and assists.
At his current rate, playing at least 14 games, Rubeor is on pace to score 51 goals and add 25 assists this season.
For his career, Rubeor has registered at least one point by goal or assist in his last 26 games and 35 of 38 in his career.
Clausen Vacuums Ground Balls
First-year defenseman Ken Clausen came to Virginia as the No. 1 defenseman in the country coming out of high school. A smart, athletic player, he had a very productive fall and worked his way into the starting line-up when preseason practice started in January.
Like many on the defense, he had a disappointing performance in the opener against Drexel as the Cavaliers gave up two goals in the final 10 seconds to lose.
Against Stony Brook in the second game, Clausen made a big step forward according to the coaching staff.
He, along with Ricky Smith and Matt Kelly, held an attack that featured a senior and two juniors in check. The Seawolve attack scored four goals but wasn't really a factor due to the defensive excellence of Clausen and his mates. Owner of an active stick, Clausen also scooped up a team-leading five ground balls in the game.
In the win over Syracuse, he held first-team All-America Mike Leveille without a goal for only the third time in his career. He also shared the team lead with six ground balls.
He was very active in the standout defensive effort against Princeton that resulted in a 7-6 win for the Cavaliers. He shared the team lead in ground balls with faceoff man Adam Fassnacht with five.
In last week's win over Johns Hopkins, Clausen turned attackman Kevin Huntley into a spectator, shutting him out and allowing him to take just one shot (which missed).
Clausen has had at least three ground balls in every game since Drexel and led the team's close defensemen six times in that span.
He is second on the team, three behind Fassnacht, with 32 ground balls. He is fifth in the ACC in ground balls with an average of 4.0 per game and leads all conference rookies in the category.
Turner, Defense Highlight Wins
Goalie Kip Turner and his defensive mates have turned in tremendous defensive efforts recently to help the Cavaliers win their last seven games.
In the win over Syracuse that opened March, the Orange took a 6-5 lead into the second quarter and many in the crowd of 20,180 were thinking they were going to see a repeat of the wild 22-21 game the teams played in 1997.
However the Cavalier defenders had other ideas. Defensemen Ricky Smith, Matt Kelly, Ken Clausen and Mike Timms joined Turner to hold the Orange to just two goals in the final 45 minutes, including only one in the second half, to lift UVa to an 11-8 win. The Orange failed to score for the final 20:35 of the game.
In the tight win over Princeton, the visiting Tigers started quickly, scoring four of the game's first six goals. Virginia's offense clawed its way back in and tied the score at 5-all at halftime. In the second half the UVa defense was stellar, allowing only one goal. At one point the Wahoos pitched a shutout for 32:45.
During this time Turner was especially hot, making six of his 10 saves in the second half. Several of his stops were point blank stuffs, including a stuff of Mark Kovler with 1:39 left and the score tied at six.
Johns Hopkins came into last week's match-up fresh off a 17-9 thrashing of Syracuse at the Dome. The Blue Jays scored first, but the Cavaliers scored the next four, while holding Hopkins scoreless for nearly 21 minutes. The lead grew to 7-2 before the Blue Jays scored three late goals for teh 7-5 final.
Turner has had a save percentage of at least 61 percent in five of UVa's last seven games (all wins). During the winning streak, he has a save percentage of 58.3 and is playing to a very low 6.00 goals allowed average.
During UVa's seven-game winning streak, the opponents are shooting just 20.5 percent (36x170), and averaging 5.86 goals per game.
Timms is Disruptive Force
Sophomore longstick midfielder Mike Timms is a quiet, reserved player who doesn't say much. It's much the same once he gets on the field. He doesn't say much, but his play recently has spoken loudly.
At 6-5 with a long frame, he uses his size and athleticism to almost ridiculous effect in neutraiizing his man.
He could very easily have been named the player of the game in the win over Princeton (the honor instead went to Ben Rubeor who scored the game winning goal). Typically matched up against Mark Kovler, he held him scoreless and caused him to miss all eight shots. Overall the Virginia defense was outstanding, but Timms was a standout with his ability to contain the Princeton scorers. He caused two turnovers and snagged two ground balls and was effective in starting several transition opportunities. Head coach Dom Starsia called his effort "monstrous" and the best of Timms' career.
The lanky redhead was a force last week, holding Johns Hopkins' Paul Rabil at bay. Rabil scored twice, but one goal came in the fourth quarter with the game basically decided. Rabil took eight shots, but only three on goal. Timms also snagged four ground balls and caused four turnovers, while leading several Cavalier fast breaks.
Timms is fourth on the team with 26 ground balls and second with 12 caused turnovers.
Riley Scores in Three of Last Four
Junior Jack Riley is one of several Cavaliers who the coaching staff has placed greater expectations on in the search for punch from the midfield. He had a very good fall while being moved around in various roles, including defensive midfield.
Called on to be more aggressive on offense, Riley has responded to the call.
Riley played a big role in the win over Stony Brook. Coming off a tough loss to Drexel to open the season, the Cavaliers found themselves facing a feisty Seawolves team. Riley scored four goals (on just six shots) to equal his season total for each of his first two seasons. He scored twice in the first quarter, including what proved to be the game winner, as UVa opened a 5-2 lead. He scored twice more in the fourth quarter to extend the lead.
He notched another very important goal against Princeton at the 9:27 mark of the third quarter to give UVa a 6-5 lead.
With Steve Giannone struggling a little bit offensively, Riley moved to the first midfield against Johns Hopkins but did not score.
With seven goals, Riley has already scored more than in any season in his career and leads UVa's midfielders.