The UVA men's lacrosse team is seeded 7th in the national field released tonight on ESPNU. The Cavaliers (9-5) will host Bucknell (14-2) at 3:00 Sunday at Klockner Field in Charlottesville.
Virginia hopes to return to their winning ways after a late season skid, highlighted by the departure of star midfielder Shamel Bratton, led to losses in 4 of 5 games before the team recovered to defeat Penn.
The Bucknell Bison, ranked 11th in the latest USILA Coaches Poll, are making their second-ever NCAA appearance, the other a first-round loss to Notre Dame in 2001. They finished a successful 2011 campaign with 8 straight wins, culminating in a 10-3 victory over #14 Colgate to earn the Patriot League title.
Major questions for Virginia involve twins Shamel and Rhamel Bratton. Shamel was dismissed from the team because of violations of team rules, while Rhamel was suspended indefinitely. Shamel's 89 career goals place him third all-time among UVA midfielders. While it remains to be fully seen how the team will mesh without the Brattons, the Cavaliers did impress in an 11-2 trouncing of Penn to finish the season. Rhamel's status for the tournament is still uncertain; while Coach Starsia's originial statement stipulated that Rhamel "will be reinstated at a later date," word has yet to be released regarding when that return would be.
The release of the bracket, which can be viewed here, is a testament to the tough schedule played by the Cavaliers. UVA played 8 games versus the fifteen other tournament teams (playing Duke twice) and defeated 2-seed Cornell, 8-seed North Carolina, and Penn. All four ACC teams will participate in the tournament.
A win against Bucknell would lead to a second round game against the winner of the matchup between Hartford and second-seeded Cornell. UVA beat Cornell 11-9 in a matchup in Baltimore earlier this season.
The Cavaliers will be making their seventh-straight tournament appearance and 34th overall. They have earned four championships, their last coming in 2006 over UMass. Semifinal and final round games will be held at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, May 28-30.
The tournament will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU.