May 24, 2007
The third-seeded Virginia Cavaliers will face second-seeded Duke on Friday, May 25 at Franklin Field for the right to play in the 2007 NCAA Championship on Sunday, May 27. The NCAA semifinal games, which pit top-ranked and reigning national champion Northwestern against host Penn in the first game and ACC rivals Duke and Virginia in the second game, will be held in Philadelphia starting at 6 pm on Friday. The Cavaliers are ranked No. 3 by three of the major polls and is fourth in the LaxPower forum poll. The Blue Devils are sixth in all four major polls.
The Cavaliers have a record of 18-3 against the nation's ninth-toughest schedule, according to lacrossedraw.com. Virginia has played 14 teams ranked in the various polls at the time of the game and has a record of 11-3 in those games.
The Cavaliers have an all-time record of 27-16 in the NCAA Champion-ships and are 12-3 in the last four years, winning it all in 2004. Virginia ranks second all-time in NCAA tournament games played, third in NCAA tournament games won, second in NCAA semifinal appearances, and fifth in NCAA championships winning percentage. The Class of 2007 is 9-2 entering the semifinal against Duke. Only 10 classes in NCAA Division I history have won 10 games in their careers.
Virginia and Duke (16-3) have met once in 2007, with Duke rallying for a 19-18 sudden-victory game in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers hold a 14-6 record all-time against Duke; after Virginia won the first eight games of the series (and nine of the first ten), the two schools have split the last 10 games 5-5. In the post season (ACC and NCAA) Virginia enjoys a 6-1 record against the Blue Devils. This is the third time that the two schools have met in the NCAA tournament; each time has been in the NCAA semifinals and each time the Cavaliers have come out on top. In 1998 Virginia defeated Duke 9-8 at Johns Hopkins; in 2005 Virginia upset Duke 15-13 at Navy. Virginia has won three ACC titles; two have come with victories over Duke (2004, 17-7; 2006, 13-8) and both were with Duke as the top seed in the tournament.
Ironically, Virginia has been scheduled to play in Philadelphia not once but twice in 2007, but this is the first trip to the City of Brotherly Love that the `Hoos have been able to make. Twice UVa had scheduled a game with Temple (Feb. 25; Mar. 7) but both times weather did not allow UVa to travel. Instead, Temple came to Charlottesville on Mar. 7.
A number of Cavaliers call the Philadelphia area home, including fourth-years Megan Havrilla (Devon, PA/Conestoga) and Jess Wasilewski (Paoli, PA/Conestoga), second-year Katie Shannon (Downingtown, PA/Downingtown West), and head coach Julie Myers (Bryn Mawr, PA/Harriton). Twenty-two UVa All-Americans are from the Philly area.
Kendall McBrearty is having an outstanding season in her first full year of starting in the cage for the Cavaliers. She already ranks in the top-10 all-time in saves in a season with 167 and ranks sixth nationally with a miniscule 7.81 GAA. She also ranks 14th nationally in save percentage (50.8%).
Virginia is one of the top defensive teams in the nation; UVa ranks fifth nationally with a 7.89 GAA while the Blue Devils check in at 9.98 GAA (20th). Virginia is led by US team members Jessy Morgan and Jen Holden, who rank 1-2 in minutes played by field players. Holden ranks second on the team in ground balls while Morgan ranks second on the team in caused turnovers. Kendall McBrearty ranks sixth in the nation in goals against average.
Virginia's midfield is led by All-ACC member Jess Wasilewski and USA team member Megan O'Malley; the Cavaliers rank ninth nationally in scoring margin. Wasilewski broke into the top-10 for assists as a fourth year with her 18 in 2007. A pair of first-years, Brittany Kalkstein and Kaitlin Duff, have made a phenomenal impact on the team as Kalkstein was named the ACC Freshman of the Year and Duff was named the National Rookie of the Week in March. Kalkstein set the school record for draw controls in a season with 60; she ranks 20th nationally with 2.86 dc per game; Duff leads the team in both ground balls (42) and caused turnovers (26).Kalkstein is also the active career leader in draw controls with 60.
Offensively the Cavaliers are led by fourth-year Kate Breslin, who has 65 goals and 27 assists on the season. She now holds the record for goals as a fourth-year (with Dawn Wisniewski, 1987) and her 92 points ranks sixth all-time for a single season in Virginia history while her 27 assists ranks ninth all-time in school history. She also ranks 10th all-time in school history with 179 points. One of the semifinalists for the prestigious Tewaaraton Trophy, Breslin ranks 15th nationally in points per game (4.38) and 16th in goals per game (3.10). Her 9 points (6g, 3a) against Princeton ranks fourth all-time in NCAA tournament history for a single game and tied the Virginia record for NCAA championship history (Lauren Aumiller, 8+1 vs Georgetown, 2003). Her 16 points--in only two NCAA Championship games--ranks 11th all-time for a championship; she needs just six points to move into a tie for fifth all-time (ironically, with current assistant coach Amy Appelt, who had 22 in 2004). She needs three goals to move into fourth all-time for a single championships.
Classmates Ashley McCulloch and Blair Weymouth form an impressive second-year duo. Weymouth ranks second on the team in points (79), goals (53) and assists (26); all three totals place her in the top-three all-time as a second-year. McCulloch's fourth assist in the ACC title game against UNC was the 29th of the season and allowed her to set a new record for assists as a second year; she ranks 26th nationally with 1.52 apg. Virginia as a team ranks 15th nationally in scoring offense, averaging 12.90 goals per game.