March 2, 2011

Clash: Virginia, 'Cuse Ready for Friday

from press release

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Only twice since the USILA coaches poll was introduced in 1973 have two teams shared the No. 1 ranking in the same week. The Virginia Cavaliers (4-0) and the Syracuse Orange (2-0) this week become the first duo to share the No. 1 USILA ranking since the final regular season poll in 1985.

That year it was Syracuse and Johns Hopkins, who later faced each other for the NCAA title, also in a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 1 in the USILA poll. The Cavaliers, ranked No. 2 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll, and the Orange, ranked No. 1 in the same poll, meet for their annual clash Friday night, inside the Carrier Dome. Faceoff is slated for 6 p.m.

The game will also be broadcast in the Charlottesville area on WINA AM 1070 with John Freeman calling the action. ESPNU will televise the game live with Eamon McAnaney calling the play-by-play, Quint Kessenich providing analysis and Paul Carcaterra roaming the sidelines.

Virginia head coach Dom Starsia brings 320 career victories into the contest, needing seven more triumphs to pass Jack Emmer (326) for most victories by a head coaching while coaching at a NCAA Division I school.

Reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Week Steele Stanwick leads UVa with 23 points and 12 assists, while scoring 11 goals. Chris Bocklet has 15 goals so far, while Mark Cockerton and Matt White round out the top scorers with six goals apiece. Adam Ghitelman won his 41st career game in the cage on Monday against VMI and sits atop of the UVa all-time goalie win list, and is No. 8 all-time. Ghitelman is saving .583 percent of shots against him in 2011 and is posting a 6.51 goals against average.

This is the 17th consecutive season the Cavaliers have faced the Orange, who won back-to-back NCAA national championships in 2008 and 2009. This is the third-straight season UVa and Syracuse have met as the USILA's top two ranked teams and the Cavaliers have won the last six regular season meetings in the series. Syracuse head coach John Desko is in his 13th year at Syracuse where the Orange have won five NCAA national championships under his direction.

Syracuse's JoJo Marasco and Tim Desko lead the way for the Orange on offense. Both have five goals to lead the team, while Marasco also has a team-best four assists. John Galloway joins Ghitelman as the only active goalies in the nation with at least 40 career wins in between the pipes. Galloway is No. 4 all-time with 46 career victories in the cage and thus far in 2011 is saving .531 percent of shots against him. He also is posting a 7.80 goals against average.

In the last meeting, UVa midfielder Rhamel Bratton scored four goals in helping Virginia win its six-straight regular season victory over the Orange in the last meeting of the series, March 7, 2010, inside UVa's Klöckner Stadium. UVa returns to the Carrier Dome with a three-game winning streak inside the venue, the only opponent of Syracuse to accomplish the feat. Friday's game also marks the fourth year in a row both squads have featured unblemished records at game time (during the regular season).

Virginia returns home on Tuesday when Vermont comes to Klöckner Stadium. Faceoff is slated for 7 p.m.


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