Junior midfielder Colin Briggs (Brian J. Leung / Streaking the Lawn)
Let no history book write that head coach Dom Starsia valued wins over team discipline. Starsia has suspended four starters (Adam Ghitelman, Shamel Bratton, Rhamel Bratton and most recently, Colin Briggs) on five occasions. Briggs, who is third on the team with 36 points on the season (24 goals, 12 assists) and has been particularly crucial without the Brattons, was not active for Saturday's 14-8 decision over Denver.
"It's something we've been working through over the course of the week," Starsia said following the game on Saturday. "We made a decision late in the week that we weren't going to play him today,"
As has been the case for the other suspensions, there was no explanation as to the cause for the suspension, other than a citation to "team matters." Starsia did confirm, however, that the junior would be available for Monday, though he did not confirm whether he'd get a starting nod.
Briggs' suspension may have caused some concern for Virginia fans at the start of the Denver game...concern that quickly dissipated after it became apparent that the Hoos would be taking control from start to finish. But it also provides an interest perspective - possibly an advantage.
"Colin over the course of the season has proven himself to be one of best midfielders in country," said senior midfielder/attacker John Haldy. "To have a player like that step into the championship game with some fresh legs on him is going to be big for us. More than anything, he's just got to control his emotions."
The fresh legs approach is certainly an interesting one. With a 13-4 lead over the Pioneers after the third quarter on Saturday, the Hoos had the luxury of being able to pull some of their starters to get a little bit of arrest, including ACC Player of the Year and Tewaaraton Trophy finalist Steele Stanwick. Maryland did not by any means have an epic battle against Duke, but the Terps didn't have the insurance the Cavs did.
The 6-foot, 200-pound middie is also a USILA second-team All-American. Face-off against the Terps is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN.