Restrained Cavaliers Crush Duke, 12-6

Looking Toward Ncaa, Virginia Harnesses Attack

Acc Men's Tournament

April 21, 1997|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Maybe this year events will go differently for Virginia.

For all their All-Americans and advance notices, the Cavaliers delivered zero lacrosse championships over the past decade. No. 2-ranked Virginia ended that drought yesterday with a 12-6 pounding of Duke in the title game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, which the Cavaliers approached as a dress rehearsal for the NCAA.

Instead of unleashing its high-powered attack or forcing the transition, Virginia slowed the tempo before 3,684 at Klockner Stadium and allowed Duke just one goal over the final 36 minutes. It was in stark contrast to their regular-season game nine days ago, a 17-14 run-and-gun victory for the Cavaliers.

"The main goal was winning this game, and if it meant holding on to the ball, so be it," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "This is a great moment for our program. There was a lot on the line, and it was important for Virginia to win."

It was the Cavaliers' first title in the nine years of the ACC tournament, and their first championship of any kind since 1986, when they ruled the regular season. Virginia has fallen short in two of the last three NCAA title games, but it gained experience and wisdom in that format.

Duke was down only 6-5 at the half. Virginia scored the first three goals of the third quarter, but rather than let loose their considerable attack, the Cavaliers played with patience.

Doug Knight had four goals, giving him 35 for the season and a Cavs' school-record 161 for his career. He was the unanimous selection as Most Valuable Player.

Pub Date: 4/21/97

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