Men's Lacrosse Prepares for Maryland

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

April 18, 1998

ACC Tournament Finals
April 19, 1998 -- 3:30 p.m.
Kloeckner Stadium
Charlottesville, Va.

10th Annual ACC Tournament

The 10th Annual Atlantic Coast Conference men's lacrosse tournament concludes this afternoon at Kloeckner Stadium on the grounds of the University of Virginia with a battle between Virginia (6-3 overall/2-1 ACC) and Maryland (9-1 overall/3-0 ACC). Face off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Maryland defeated North Carolina 13-8 in Friday night's first game, while Virginia downed Duke 11-9 in the nightcap.

Cavaliers Vie for 13th League Title

Virginia is in the ACC Tournament title game for the fifth time. The Cavaliers won their only tournament championship last season with a 12-6 win over Duke.

The Cavaliers have won 12 ACC championships all-time, including 11 before the inception of the tournament format.

Virginia was ACC champions in 1962-64-69-70-71-75-80-83-84-85-86 when the champion was determined by regular season play.

Cavalier head coach Dom Starsia is seeking his second championship since taking over the reigns in 1993. His Brown teams were Ivy League champs in 1985 and '91.

Only Maryland (with 22 championships, no tournament titles) have won more ACC crowns than Virginia.

The Series vs. the Terrapins

Maryland leads the all-time series with the Cavaliers 37-24, including a 16-13 mark in games played in Charlottesville.

The Cavaliers are riding a five-game winning streak at home against the Terrapins. This streak features four one-goal games, including last season's 15-14 double overtime victory. The only game in Charlottesville during Virginia's current home winning streak that was not decided by one goal is the Cavaliers' 13-9 win in the semifinals of the 1996 ACC Tournament.

The Terrapins have not won in Charlottesville since a 13-9 win in 1989 (at Scott Stadium).

Maryland has won the last two games overall in the series--10-9 in Byrd Stadium in last season's NCAA Tournament and 14-9 in this season's regular season clash at Byrd.

Virginia in the ACC Tournament

The Cavaliers secured their first ACC Tournament championship with a 12-6 win over Duke in last season's title game at Kloeckner Stadium. (Virginia defeated North Carolina 17-13 in the first round.)

Virginia has won three consecutive ACC Tournament contests, including Friday night's 11-9 win over Duke.

But overall the ACC Tournament hasn't been as fruitful for the Cavaliers as they are just 6-8 in 10 tournament appearances.

The Cavaliers have advanced to the finals four of the last five years, including the last two, and won last season's tournament.

Virginia advanced to the finals in 1990-94-96 (all losses to North Carolina) before winning last season's title.

The Cavaliers were defeated in the first round in 1989-91-92-93-95.

The Cavaliers are 4-1 vs. Duke, 1-2 vs. Maryland and 1-5 vs. North Carolina.

ACC Tournament Returns to UVa

This is the fifth time the University of Virginia has hosted the ACC Tournament (also hosted in 1990-94-96-97). And perhaps it's not surprising that the Cavaliers have had their best tournament success on their home field since they have advanced to the finals every time they have hosted. Virginia has never advanced to the ACC Tournament finals when UVa did not host.

Cavaliers Down Duke in Semis

Virginia used a career performance by sophomore Drew McKnight to post its second straight come-from-behind win over Duke in less than a week by defeating the Blue Devils 11-9 in the semifinals on Friday night.

McKnight scored a career-high five goals, including three in a pivotal 5-0 run, as the Cavaliers won a see-saw battle.

Virginia's Michael Leahy started the scoring with an unassisted blast just two minutes into the contest. The Blue Devils answered with a 4-0 run in a 2:36 span to take a 4-1 lead at the end of the first quarter. Duke's Greg Patchak had a pair of goals in the run.

The Blue Devils extended their lead to four when John O'Donnell scored just 22 seconds into the second quarter on an unassisted crank from the right side. Virginia's Jay Jalbert scored the first of his hat trick just 30 seconds later to cut the deficit to three, but Duke's John Fay pushed the margin back to four 30 seconds later.

McKnight then got hot for the Cavaliers, scoring a pair of unassisted goals in a 19-second span. Jalbert scored his second goal three minutes later to slice the deficit to one at 6-5, and McKnight scored off a Jalbert assist two minutes later to knot the score at 6-6 with five minutes to go in the half. David Wren's goal with 17 seconds remaining in the first half gave the Cavaliers a 7-6 lead, their first lead since the opening goal.

Duke tied the game for a third time as Jared Frood connected on the crease from Fay just 47 seconds into the second half. The Blue Devils went up by one at 8-7 as Fay scored on an extra-man opportunity 10 minutes into the third quarter. For the second week in a row against the Blue Devils, the Cavaliers were held scoreless in the third quarter.

But like the previous meeting, the Cavaliers came alive again in the final stanza with McKnight and Jalbert leading the way. McKnight tied the game 53 seconds into the fourth quarter, and then scored again from Jalbert 47 seconds later to put the Cavaliers up for good. Jalbert added an insurance goal four minutes into the fourth quarter to give the Cavaliers a two-goal cushion, and Hanley Holcomb's first career goal gave Virginia a three-goal lead with 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

Duke managed only three shots in the fourth quarter, and the first two were saved by goalie Chris Sanderson, who recorded 13 saves against 28 shots on the evening. Duke's final goal came with just over two minutes to go as Scott Diggs hit from five yards out from Fay. Duke won the ensuing faceoff, but the Cavalier defense held strong, keeping the Blue Devils out of the cage for the final two minutes.

Two Cavaliers Named All-ACC

Drew Melchionni and Tucker Radebaugh were named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team this season. This is the first time either player has been so honored.

Melchionni, a senior from Garden City, N.Y., has been a mainstay in the midfield throughout his career. He is tied for third on the team with 16 goals this season and was a preseason All-American.

Radebaugh, a junior from Glen Arm, Md., is one of the nation's most versatile players who excells in both midfield and the attack. He is among the leaders in the ACC with 39 points and 24 goals. His brother Dan was an All-ACC performer at Maryland in 1995.

Starsia Now Second All-Time

With Virginia's dramatic 11-9 win over Duke Friday, head coach Dom Starsia passed Glenn Thiel and moved into sole possession of second place on UVa's all-time wins list with 64. Starsia's Cavalier squads have compiled a 64-22 (.744) record in six seasons. Theil's record at Virginia was 63-30 (.677).

Jim Adams is Virginia's all-time leader with a 137-60 (.695) record from 1978-92.

Starsia, who coached at Brown University from 1983-92, has a 165-68 (.708) record in 16 years as a head coach.

Starsia is 22-18 vs. the ACC all-time (1-6 vs. UVa, 9-2 vs. Duke, 7-5 vs. North Carolina, and 5-5 vs. Maryland). He is 8-5 vs. the Ivy League since coming to UVa (3-5 vs. Princeton, 2-0 vs. Brown,1-0 vs. Harvard, and 2-0 vs. Penn). Starsia is a two-time winner of the Morris Touchstone award (Division I Coach of the Year, 1985 and 1991).

His 100th win came in 1992, when his Brown squad topped Cornell to wrap up an NCAA bid. His Brown teams were Ivy League champions twice (1985 and 1991) and went to the NCAAs four of his last six seasons (he is 9-10 overall in NCAA play). He has a 50-23 record vs. Ivy league teams, including 8-5 while at UVa. He had never played lacrosse prior to attending Brown. In 1992, Starsia was honored by the Rhode Island Organization of Sportswriters and Sportscasters with the Frank Lanning Award (lifetime achievement of overall contribution to the Rhode Island sports community).

Starsia was named ACC Co-Coach of the year for 1995, and he was picked as the 1997 ACC Coach of the Year. Four of his five UVa squads have finished the regular season in first place in the ACC. While at Virginia Starsia is 5-4 against Maryland.

The Starting Line-Up

Virginia's starting line-up went through several phases early in the season as the Cavaliers battled a series of injuries to key players, but the team is rounding into shape for the final push for the postseason.

The expected line-up (with scoring to date indicated) is-- Drew McKnight (16g +21a =37pts, was injured early on, now playing again), Jay Jalbert (21+10=31), and Tucker Radebaugh (24+15=39) on attack; David Wren (10+0=10, out vs. Princeton with illness; now back playing), Drew Melchionni (16+6=22), and Jason Hard (3+1=4) on midfield; and Penn Leachman (0 ), Ryan Curtis (0, was injured, playing again), and Doug Davies (0) on defense. The goalie should be Chris Sanderson (102 saves, 77 goals allowed; injured vs. Princeton, did not dress vs. UMass, returned vs. Johns Hopkins).

The faceoff man used the most often has been Jason Hard (75 of 177). David Jenkins (20 of 42) spells Hard as the face off man. Peter Ragosa (1+1=2) is the first long stick defender on the field. Freshman Hanley Holcomb missed the first six games of the season due to illness and returned to action against North Carolina on April 4 to give the Cavaliers added depth in the midfield.

McKnight Paces Cavaliers

Sophomore Drew McKnight primarily stations himself behind the cage, setting up teammates for goal scoring opportunities with feeds from behind. But Friday night against Duke, his role changed.

He moved in front of the cage and spurred the Cavaliers to a rousing comeback win by tallying a career-high five goals. That ties Jay Jalbert's performance against North Carolina as the Virginia high game this season.

McKnight scored Virginia's first two goals in the fourth quarter to first tie the game at eight and then give the Cavaliers the lead for good.

He scored less than a minute into the final quarter from 12 yards out to tie the score. His game-winner came 47 seconds later by scoring on a dodge from the left.

McKnight's five goals vs. Duke are almost one-third of his season total of 16. He is second in the nation in assists, averaging 2.63 per game.

Radebaugh's Streak Ends at 15 Games

Tucker Radebaugh is Virginia's leading scorer this season with 24 goals and 39 points. He is also second on the team with 15 assists.

He has scored at least two goals in every game but two, including a one-goal effort against Maryland in the first meeting this season.

Friday night against Duke he was held scoreless for the first time since the VMI game last season, a span of 15 games.

Radebaugh scored a career-high four goals against Mercyhurst, Princeton, North Carolina and the first game against Duke.

Jalbert Tops 20 Goals for First Time

Sophmore Jay Jalbert had some large shoes to fill this season in replacing Doug Knight and Michael Watson on the Virginia attack.

He found the net three times against Duke Friday night and now has a career high 21 goals. He also has fed 10 assists, a career high.

Jalbert's five goals against North Carolina on April 4 is a career high and ties Drew McKnight's performance Friday against Duke for team high.

Sanderson Makes the Big Save

Conventional wisdom says that games are won in the fourth quarter. And that's certainly been the case in the Cavaliers' last two games as they have posted two straight come-from-behind wins over Duke.

Key to those wins has been the fourth quarter play of goalie Chris Sanderson. While the Cavalier offense has been able to capitalize on its chances, the Virginia defense has allowed only one goal in the fourth quarter of the last three games combined.

Sanderson has recorded seven saves combined in the fourth quarter of the last two games. He snuffed a Scott Diggs effort with 27 seconds to play eight days ago to preserve Virginia's 12-11 win over the Blue Devils.

He was at it again Friday night by stopping two Duke shots in the final 15 minutes. Duke won three fourth quarter face offs but was able to attempt just three shots in the period. Virginia's aggressive defense created several unsettled situations, resulting in 10 Virginia ground balls.

For the season Sanderson has a 57 percent save percentage (a career high) and is allowing just 10.29 goals per game.

Cavaliers Find Kloeckner to Their Liking

Virginia has found playing at Kloeckner Stadium much to its liking throughout the years. The Cavaliers are 23-4 all-time at Kloeckner Stadium, including two dramatic come-from-behind wins over Duke in the last week.

However, two of the Cavaliers' losses at Kloeckner have come in the ACC Tournament (1994, '96 to North Carolina). Duke handed Virginia a 9-8 loss at Kloeckner in 1994.

The Cavaliers also lost to Johns Hopkins 13-10 at Kloeckner Stadium earlier this season.

Virginia has won 17 of its last 19 games at Kloeckner dating back to the end of the 1994 season.

This is the fourth time the ACC Tournament has been held at Kloeckner Stadium and the Cavaliers have advanced to the finals every time.

Scoring Down in '98

The Cavaliers have been known as one of the most prolific scoring teams in the nation throughout the 1990s. They have scored more than 250 goals in each of the last four seasons, including a school-record 275 in 1996. They have also averaged at least 15.0 goals per game in the last four seasons.

But with the loss of Doug Knight and Michael Watson from last year's squad, the Cavaliers have not been quite so explosive this season. They have scored 112 goals in nine games, an average of 12.4 goals per game. That is the lowest figure since the 1989 squad averaged 10.5 goals per game.

And while the offense is down from a year ago, the defense is up. The Cavalier defense is allowing just 9.4 goals per game (down somewhat from 9.7 goals per game a year ago).

One Goal Games Not to Their Liking

Despite last week's remarkable comeback against Duke that resulted in a 12-11 victory, the Cavaliers have not typically been smiling after one-goal games.

Under head coach Dom Starsia, the Cavalier are 8-10 in games decided by one goal and have lost all five postseason contests (either ACC or NCAA Tournaments).

A look at Virginia's one-goal games under Starsia is below. UVa wins are listed in bold.

1993    UMass   10-9
        Maryland    11-10 ot
        North Carolina  13-12 ot
        at Hofstra  5-6 ot
        at Maryland (ACC)   8-9 ot
1994    Duke    8-9
        vs. Syracuse (NCAA) 15-14 ot
        vs. Princeton (NCAA)    8-9 ot
1995    Maryland    12-11 ot
1996    vs. Brown   16-15
        at North Carolina   18-19
        vs. Princeton (NCAA)    12-13 ot
1997    at Syracuse 21-22
        at Princeton    13-14 ot
        Maryland    15-14 2ot
        at Maryland (NCAA)  9-10
1998    Syracuse    17-18 ot
        Duke    12-11

Holding the Opposition to Single Digits

Virginia has had remarkable success this season when holding the opposition to fewer than 10 goals, winning all five games.

That contrasts to a 1-3 mark when the other team scores as least 10 goals. The 12-11 win over Duke last Saturday is the only time this season the Cavaliers have won when allowed 10 or more goals.

The Cavaliers have won 23 consecutive contests (dating back to 1995) when they allow less than 10 goals.

Sluggish After Halftime

The Cavaliers have led at halftime in seven games this season (all but Johns Hopkins and Maryland--both losses). But they have had some trouble maintaining the intensity in the third quarter, which has been most evident in the last two contests (against Duke).

Last Saturday the Cavaliers held a 9-5 advantage at the break, but the Blue Devils out-scored Virginia 5-0 in the third period to take the lead. The homestanding Wahoos turned the tables on the visitors from Durham by out-scoring the Blue Devils 3-0 in the final 15 minutes to gain the win.

The situation was the same in Friday's semifinal win over Duke. The Cavaliers led at halftime 7-6, but were out-scored by the Blue Devils 2-0 in the third quarter. Virginia came alive in the fourth quarter (again) as Drew McKnight tallied two goals in the first two minutes to give the Cavaliers the lead for good. Jay Jalbert pushed Virginia's lead to two goals less than four minutes in and Hanley Holcomb added an insurance goal (his first) for the Cavaliers.

Virginia trailed Maryland 6-4 in a key match-up in College Park late last month. The Terrapins then out-scored Virginia 6-2 in the third quarter to put the game away and win 14-9.

Newcomers Dot Roster

Among the newcomers to watch this season are: John Harvey (D, St. George's School and Darien, Conn.); Hanley Holcomb (M, Salisbury School and Ridgewood, N.J.); David Jenkins (M, Taft School and Dedham, Mass., 20 of 42 faceoffs); James Kenny (M, Garden City HS and Garden City, N.Y.); Evan Mancini (M, Hotchkiss School and Gulph Mills, Pa.); Jamison Mullen (A, St. Mary's HS and Annapolis, Md.; 3+1=4); Ian Shure (A, Boy's Latin School and Lutherville, Md.; 2+1=3); and Aaron Vercollone (M, Boy's Latin School and Lutherville, Md., 0+1=1). Defenseman Court Weisleder (Taft School and Bay Head, N.J.) transferred from Tufts and has three years of eligibility remaining.

Seven Receive Preseason Recognition

Seven Cavaliers were named preseason All-Americans for this season--M David Wren (first team), D Ryan Curtis (second), M Drew Melchionni (second), A Jay Jalbert (honorable mention), A Drew McKnight (honorable mention), A/M Tucker Radebaugh (honorable mention) and D Karl Zeller (honorable mention).