A moment of silence, a game of dominance

In first game since murder, Virginia men rout Mount,18-4

May 16, 2010|By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — — Barry Jacobs has been a University of Virginia lacrosse fan for 50 years, ever since he unsuccessfully tried out for the team as a freshman. A season-ticket holder for many years after moving to Northern Virginia, Jacobs came to Klockner Stadium on Saturday night with mixed emotions.

Jacobs, a retired State Department officer, was going to root for the top-ranked and No.1-seed Cavaliers against Mount St. Mary's in their opening game of the NCAA lacrosse tournament, but his heart was heavy from the killing of women's lacrosse player Yeardley Love nearly two weeks ago. Virginia men's lacrosse player George Huguely is charged with murder in her death.

As Jacobs walked to the stadium an hour before game time, he couldn't quite separate Love's murder from the national championship pursuits of the men's and women's lacrosse teams. The fourth-seed women's team was scheduled to play its first game since Love's death Sunday against Towson at noon.

The men's and women's teams wore black-and-white patches with Love's initials and the No. 1. A moment of silence was observed before the game.

"It's taken a lot of pleasure out of it," Jacobs said. "We want them to win, but it's not much fun this year."

Jacobs said he has been following the news reports since Huguely allegedly beat Love, his former girlfriend, to death in her off-campus apartment May 3. Like many fans, Jacobs wondered how the men's team would react to playing while their former teammate sat in the Albemarle Regional Jail and how the women would play a week after Love had been buried in Baltimore.

The latest piece of news to come out was the university's response to a Washington Post article that said Huguely attacked a former teammate last season while he was sleeping after Huguely suspected the player of kissing Love at a party. Both Huguely and the former player went to Virginia coach Dom Starsia to report their scuffle.

Neither player was suspended, and the university came out Friday in support of Starsia's decision.

"You root, of course you root, but they're kids, 21-year-old kids. I can't imagine that this won't affect them, both the men's and the women's teams," Jacobs said.

It took a couple of minutes — and a couple of point-blank shots by the Mountaineers — for the Cavaliers to put aside the emotions of the past two weeks and start focusing on lacrosse.

Three goals in a little over three minutes — a left-handed snipe by Shamel Bratton with 11:58 left in the first quarter, an empty-net goal by Steele Stanwick (Loyola) 27 seconds later, and a goal in front by Chris Bocklet — were part of a five-goal opening quarter that sent Virginia (15-1) on its way to an 18-4 victory. The Cavaliers scored eight times before Mount St. Mary's (12-5) registered its first goal of the game.

The victory put the Cavaliers into the quarterfinals at Stony Brook, which beat Denver on the road Saturday. The game will be played next weekend on Long Island, the weekend Virginia's seniors graduate. Love will receive her degree posthumously, the school announced a few days after the senior from Cockeysville was killed.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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