No. 2 Virginia rebounds to rout No. 3 Princeton

Cavs put Syracuse loss behind them in 15-8 win

March 12, 2000|By John Galinsky | John Galinsky,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The Virginia men's lacrosse team may have won the national championship last year, but the buzz in the lacrosse world was that the Cavaliers would be even better this season. Problem is, they might have believed it.

The Cavaliers, by their own admission, played lethargically in their 2000 debut against Syracuse last week, but yesterday they showed that the preseason prognostications may be accurate.

Dominating every facet of the game, No. 2 Virginia routed No. 3 Princeton, 15-8, at Klockner Stadium. The Cavaliers (1-1) handed the Tigers (1-1) their most lopsided defeat in five years and atoned for a 13-12 overtime loss to the top-ranked Orangemen the previous week.

"For six months, everybody was telling us how wonderful we are," said Virginia coach Dom Starsia, whose team returned seven starters from last year. "We learned last week that we're not. We had a week of self-examination, and fortunately, this is a team with a lot of self-respect. Today, we looked like the team we think we are."

That is, an unselfish, slick-passing team with a lot of offensive options, a deep midfield and a punishing defense. All were on display yesterday. Attackmen Conor Gill (2 goals, 4 assists) and Drew McKnight (3 goals, 3 assists) led the way with six points apiece, and six midfielders combined for 10 goals. It was the most goals allowed by Princeton since a 15-11 loss to Syracuse in the 1995 NCAA tournament quarterfinals.

"Our problem is we think we can play offense," said Princeton coach Bill Tierney, whose team lost its third straight game to Virginia. "We took bad, bad shots 15 or 20 seconds after getting possession. When you do that, it goes the other way and the ball winds up in the back of our net."

The Cavaliers said the difference was better ball movement.

"This was a hundred times better than last week," said Gill, a sophomore from St. Paul's School. "Everyone was trying to dodge and do it on their own [against Syracuse]. Today the ball was flying around. We got a lot better shots."

On the other end, Ryan Curtis, the 1999 National Defenseman of the Year, bounced back from a rough outing against the Orangemen to anchor an aggressive defensive effort.

"Last week was probably the worst I've felt," said Curtis. "But I learned from it. Our whole team learned from it. It's good to see us come back and show how well we can play."

Princeton 4 1 3 0 -- 8

Virginia 4 3 6 2 -- 15

Goals: P--Sims 3, Baugher, Clark, Harrington, Kenney, Prager; V--Bruce 3, McKnight 3, Gill 2, Jalbert 2, Jenkins 2, Hard, Holcomb, Russo. Assists: P--Prager, Sims, Striebel; V--Gill 4, McKnight 3, Jalbert, Shure. Saves: P--Tierney 15; V--Kenney 8.

Pub Date: 3/12/00

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