3-on-1 faceoff plan is winner

Virginia trio teams up to wear out UMass specialist Deane



Philadelphia -- There was a moment in the second half of yesterday's NCAA championship game when Virginia midfielder Drew Thompson looked at the Massachusetts bench and saw something that made him smile.

Senior Jake Deane, the Minutemen's main faceoff man and one of UMass' best defenders, was down on one knee, battling exhaustion and struggling to catch his breath in the hot sun.

"We noticed that for sure," Thompson said. "And when he came back into the game, we were telling each other, `If you've got him on offense, run him.' He was exhausted. He played a long, tough game, but it takes a lot of energy to face off."

Deane, who came into the game with a reputation as one of the best faceoff men in the country, didn't have it easy all day, and Virginia's strategy against him was a major factor in the Cavaliers' 15-7 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.

Virginia coach Dom Starsia rotated three guys against Deane on faceoffs, and Thompson, Charlie Glazer and Adam Fassnacht had him worn out by the third quarter. Virginia won 16 of 26 faceoffs, including seven straight to start the day.

"Jake got tired out there since he's playing three-on-one," said UMass coach Greg Cannella. "They were able to beat him to the clamp a couple of times."

Deane, an Annapolis native, is one of the rare faceoff men in the country who uses a long pole, which he believes gives him an advantage on loose balls. Yesterday, the strategy didn't work often.

"His strength is when there's a loose ball, he's got that 3 extra feet on you [with the long stick]," said Thompson, who also had three assists. "He can get to your hands and knock it loose. We just tried to use our quickness and get the ball out to the wing in a position where we could pick it up and go."

Deane acknowledged that his day was frustrating, especially when Virginia went on a 6-0 run in the second half to end the Minutemen's upset dreams.

"It gets exhausting every time you're down there on defense," Deane said. "It makes you angry and tired. The balls didn't bounce our way."

Positive finale

With all the controversy this season surrounding allegations of rape involving the Duke men's team, Starsia said he hopes Virginia's perfect season will help shift the focus back onto what's good about lacrosse and keep people from dwelling on what happened in Durham, N.C.

The Blue Devils, who made it to the title game last year and were ranked No. 1 in the preseason, canceled the rest of their season after the allegations surfaced.

"It's a fitting end to a tumultuous spring," said Starsia, who won his third national title. "I hope people will look at this group of wonderful young men and hold them up as the ideal. ... When they look back at 2006, it's important to walk away with something positive like that."

Et cetera

The crowd of 47,062 set a record for an NCAA lacrosse championship game. The NCAA said the combined attendance from the Division I semifinals and championship game, along with the Division II and III championships, was 144,688, also a record. ... Virginia attackman Matt Ward was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. The all-tournament team also had Virginia's Michael Culver, Kyle Dixon, Danny Glading and Matt Poskay; UMass' Deane, Doc Schneider, Sean Morris and Jack Reid; and Syracuse's Brett Bucktooth.

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