Virginia Is Cruising, But Hopkins Is Next

By Christian Swezey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 20, 2006

TOWSON, Md., March 19 -- The Virginia men's lacrosse team is off to the best start since it began keeping records in 1925 following a 14-7 victory over Towson before 2,011 at Johnny Unitas Stadium on Sunday.

There also is a bit of history, however, that the Cavaliers (8-0) are hoping to change.

Virginia is ranked No. 2 and almost certainly will move to No. 1 when the USILA poll comes out Monday, considering No. 1 Maryland lost to Bucknell last week.

Awaiting Virginia on Saturday in Charlottesville is defending national champion Johns Hopkins. Not including season openers, Virginia has been undefeated entering the game against the Blue Jays 17 times.

The Cavaliers are 1-16.

That includes the time Virginia started 7-0 -- its best start prior to this season -- in 1973. The Blue Jays (3-2) also defeated Virginia twice last year, including in sudden-death overtime in the NCAA semifinals.

Virginia senior midfielder Matt Poskay, who had three goals against Towson (2-3), said that, even though his team considers every game to be important, the Hopkins game will be special.

"It's going to be a big one," he said. "We've been looking forward to it, especially after what happened last year."

Virginia had little trouble against No. 19 Towson. The Cavaliers scored the first seven goals and forced Towson to change goalies less than 20 minutes into the game, as senior starter Mark DeGroat was removed with his team trailing 7-1 with 10 minutes 27 seconds left in the first half.

Backup Matt Antol, a sophomore, didn't fare much better. Virginia scored on four of the first 10 shots against him and led 11-1 at halftime.

Towson's defensive game plan focused on taking away seniors Matt Ward and Kyle Dixon. It worked, to a certain extent: senior Ted Turnblacer held Ward without a goal, though he had three assists. Dixon, meantime, was guarded by Towson's longstick midfielders and had one goal.

The Cavaliers countered with contributions from several players. Freshman Garrett Billings had three goals, sophomore Ben Rubeor had two goals and three assists, freshman Danny Glading had two goals and freshman Gavin Gill had two assists.

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