Virginia staying level-headed about win vs. Syracuse

No. 1 Cavaliers not getting too giddy about four-goal victory on Sunday

March 07, 2012|By Edward Lee

Virginia’s 14-10 victory over No. 11 Syracuse would usually be cause for celebration as it represents a significant win against the Division I program with the most national championships.

But as coach Dom Starsia pointed out Tuesday, the No. 1 Cavaliers (5-0) have split meetings with the Orange in the years that Virginia captured the NCAA title.

“So the result doesn’t affect the plans or goals of either one of the two teams,” he said. “But it’s a great measure early in the year of where we are. This is a team that can make you pay for mistakes, and they did that on Sunday. But for us, it was probably our most severe early test of the season. We hadn’t been particularly sharp over the first couple of weeks, but we’ve been getting better. In this game, I thought we were a little tight in the first half, but I thought we sort of played like big boys in the second half against a great foe. So it’s kind of a strong step in the right direction and gives us a little confidence as we go forward. You don’t read too much into it early. All things being equal, we’re just as likely to play these guys sometime again down the road. But for an indication of where we are right now, I think it was a positive step for us.”

The contest against Syracuse may have introduced Rob Fortunato to the national audience. The senior goalkeeper who toiled behind Adam Ghitelman for the last three seasons made a career-best 16 saves on Sunday and boasts a 6.90 goals-against average and a .637 save percentage.

“I thought he played very well,” Starsia said of Fortunato. “Certainly, it was a question mark going into the season. Adam literally played every game over four years and Rob patiently waited his turn. At the same time, I can tell you that he’s grown up a great deal in the three years that he’s been here. Earlier in his career, I might have not thought he was capable of playing the way he is right this moment. Having played the one game last year was a real comfort for us going into season, knowing that he had at least been exposed to this and had shown that he could play at this level. As we move forward, everything is a first time for him – still – but I would say he has probably either met or surpassed our expectations at this point in the season. I think everybody has confidence in Rob as we consider the meat of our schedule coming up. What we hope to accomplish this year, we’re not going to get it done without a good performance in the goal, and Rob has certainly given us every indication that he is capable of doing that.”

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