April 28, 2007
Durham, N.C. -
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No. 3 Virginia (12-2) at No. 2 Duke (12-2)
April 29, 2007 3:30 pm
Koskinen Stadium Durham, N.C.
Virginia goes for its sixth ACC Tournament title since 1997 Sunday afternoon against Duke at 3:30 p.m. The Cavaliers advanced to the finals with an 11-10 win over Maryland in the semifinals on Friday night.
Duke gained a 13-9 win over North Carolina in the other semifinal to set the match-up with Virginia.
Television: This game is being televised by FSN South, Sun Sports, New England Sports Network (NESN), and Comcast Sports Net. Check your local listing.
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.
Virginia suffered a series of heartaches in the ACC Tournament before winning it for the first time in 1997. The Cavaliers have since won six tournament championships, including last season. Overall this is the fifth time in the last six seasons the Cavaliers have played for the league championship.
This is the second time the Cavaliers have played for the title in Durham and they no doubt hope for a better outcome than the last time. UVa fell to host Duke 14-13 in 2002's title game.
This is also the second time Virginia has played the host school for the championship. In 2000 the Cavaliers defeated Maryland 11-7 in College Park.
Virginia looks to win its second consecutive ACC championship to become the first to win two in a row since Maryland in 2004-05.
Prior to the beginning of the tournament format in 1989, Virginia captured 11 ACC championships (1962-64-69-70-71-75-80-83-84-85-86).
The Cavaliers are attempting to become the first No. 2 seed to win the ACC Tournament since they won it on their home field at Klöckner Stadium in 2003. That was the third year in a row the No. 2 seed won the title.
This is the ninth time Virginia has tangled with Duke in the ACC Tournament and the fifth time in the finals. The Cavaliers have won six of those meetings, including wins in the championship game in 1997, 1999 and 2003. Duke won the title tilt in 2002.
Virginia leads the all-time series with Duke by a 48-17 margin. The Cavaliers have defeated Duke more than any other team in school history. This is the third consecutive game the teams have played in Durham; Duke won the first two--17-2 in 2005 and 10-9 in overtime two weeks ago.
It is interesting to note that Duke (currently eighth nationally with an average of 7.2 goals allowed per game) has done an excellent job of containing Virginia's offense in recent years. The Cavaliers reached double figures in 34 of 35 meetings from 1962-98, but have scored 10+ in just seven of the last 12. UVa's offense has picked up somewhat recently as the Wahoos have reached double figures in five of the last seven meetings.
Virginia has played six one-goal games this season for the first time in school history; the Cavaliers are 4-2 in them. Only Hofstra (8) has played more one-goal games this season than Virginia, but Towson and Providence have also played six. The Cavaliers' four one-goal wins are tied with Towson, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown for most in the country. Curiously Virginia is two goals away from being undefeated.
Duke gained a 7-6 win in overtime two weeks ago in the first meeting between the two teams this season. The Blue Devils have won the last three one-goal games against Virginia going back to the regular season meeting in 2001. Their one-goal wins occurred in 2001, 2002 ACC Tournament finals and earlier this month.
One of the key factors in Duke's victory over the Cavaliers earlier this season was its ability to get all the loose balls. The Blue Devils had a huge advantage in ground balls with 58 against just 38 for Virginia. The 20-ground ball margin is the greatest against UVa since the Princeton game (+20) in 2004.
Virginia is 12-2 overall this season, the third year in a row the program has won at least 11 games. This is only the second time in school history the Cavaliers have won at least 11 games three straight years. There was a four-year run from 1994-97. Virginia's 40 wins since 2005 is the best three-year run in school history.
All-ACC goalie Kip Turner was spectacular in goal in this season's first meeting, making a career-high 20 saves. He had a 74.1 save percentage, the best full-game mark of his career. The senior from Annapolis, Md., has played big in big games and won eight of 10 games in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments in his career.
All-ACC defenseman Ricky Smith and league Player of the Year Matt Danowski have faced each other many times through the years going back to their prep careers on Long Island. In the first meeting this season Smith held Danowski to a goal and three assists, who tied his season low with the lone goal. Smith, who caused a team-leading three turnovers in that game, leads the team with 31 caused turnovers this season. He had a fabulous performance Friday against Maryland, causing five turnovers and scooping up five ground balls. In his last four games, Smith is averaging 5.0 GBs per game and 3.5 turnovers caused per game.
After being relatively quiet coming into the ACC Tournament, Ben Rubeor came up big in the semifinal win over Maryland Friday night. He led the team with three goals, just the second time in the last five games he was the leader. Rubeor has scored 43 goals, fifth most in a season in school history. Meanwhile his 63 total points (43g, 20a) are tied for 13th in UVa history.
Head coach Dom Starsia has commented recently that perhaps the attack has "hit a wall." While it appears the attack is not producing as it had early on, it might be due to the increased production coming from the midfield. Virginia's midfield combined to score five goals and add two assists in the semis against Maryland. Jack Riley scored twice Friday night and has scored at least once in five of the last six games. He is sixth among ACC middies with 13 goals. Drew Thompson has eight assists, including one vs. Maryland, and is second in the league in middie assists.