March 10, 1998
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.--The 1998 Virginia Lacrosse team opens its season tomorrow, March 11, as the Cavaliers face in-state rival Old Dominion at the University Hall Turf Field at 6:00 pm.
"I'm really excited about this year's team," said Virginia head coach Julie Myers. "We've been preparing for a long time and I'm looking forward to seeing us in a game-day situation."
The Cavaliers have played in a series of preseason scrimmages against some of the top teams in the countryat various sites around the country and are ready to get the season underway. The team will be led by captains Kara Ariza (Lansdowne, Pa./Penn Wood), Peggy Boutilier (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park), and Beth Potter (Swarthmore, Pa./Ridley). Each one of the captains was named an All-American in 1997 and look to continue their leadership on the field.
"Three of our seniors are captains, each of whom has been starting since her first year. Their leadership will be very important to us. The younger players look up to them, which makes their work as captains an integral part of the team," added Myers.
Ariza was named a member of the United States National team in 1997 and was also named a first-team All-American in 1997. An All-American in 1996, Ariza ranked third on the team in scoring in 1997 and led the team with five game-winning goals. Ariza also plays on the top-ranked Virginia field hockey team that advanced to the NCAA Semifinals.
Boutilier was named the National Player of the Year (Defense) in 1997, marking the sixth time in the 1990's that a Cavalier has been so honored. In 1997, Boutilier anchored a defense that ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense. She set a school record while playing in 88 consecutive field hockey games for the top-ranked Cavaliers.
Potter has led the Cavaliers in scoring in both 1996 and 1997. She stands third all-time at Virginia in career assists and holds the record for assists as a sophomore. Potter is one of only three Cavaliers to record 50+ goals and assists. She was an All-American in 1997.
The game against Old Dominion will pit Virginia, ranked third in the first week's poll, against a team that is consistently in the top-20. The Cavaliers have had the edge on the Monarchs, however, as they stand 21-0 all-time against their in-state opponent. Virginia has defeated Old Dominion more than any other team in the country. That, howver, is no indication of tomorrow's game. The Monarchs are coached by Sue Stahl, who led the United States team to its third consecutive World Championship in 1997 and was recently re-appointed as the United States head coach for another four years.
"Our season is full of great games. We play all of the top teams in the season," commented Myers.
Virginia itself is one of the top teams in the country, as it stands fifth all-time in winning percentage as a team with a 71.6% clip (231-90-5). The 231 wins also stands in the top-10 among all schools for most wins.
The 1997 Cavaliers finished the season with a 14-5 and a second consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament.