After an all-too-familiar defeat at the hands of the Duke Blue Devils last weekend, the Hoos will try to get back on track at this weekend's ACC Lacrosse Championship. UVA earned the second seed, finishing 2-1 in the ACC, and will take on the third-seeded Tar Heels. Face-off is at 7:30 tonight at Klockner Field, as it's Virginia's turn to host the tourney. In the day's other matchup, top-seeded 2-1 Duke will play four-seed Maryland, who went 1-2 in conference, at 3 PM.
UVA comes into the matchup ranked 4th and 6th in the coaches and media polls, respectively, while UNC is at 9th in both. Tonight's faceoff is a rematch of the Hoo's 15-10 victory in Chapel Hill just two weeks ago. In that game, Steele Stanwick and Chris Bocklett both notched hat tricks on the way to an easy win, despite losing the battles of face-offs, clears, shots and saves. The Hoos dominated extra-man opportunities, picked up the ground balls, and made their shots count.
Still, UVA head coach Dom Starsia emphasized that the team isn't taking anything for granted. "This is a rare opportunity when you have a recent film of your own performance against a team, and there are some little things that we can do better than we did the last time," he told NBC29.
While the Hoos are skidding a bit, UNC has put together a nice late-season run. Their loss to Virginia is their lone blemish in the past month, while they have defeated Dartmouth, Maryland, Johns Hopkins, and Hofstra. After a pair of bad losses to unranked Penn and #12 Lehigh at home, the Heels are peaking at the right time.
UVA leads the all-time series between the two teams 49-24; however, they haven't matched up in the ACC Tournament since 2004, which is nothing short of amazing in the four-team event. Tonight, the Hoos will attempt to avoid their first ever three-game losing streak at home. Maryland enters the event as the defending champion, while UVA won its 6th ACC Championship in 2010.
The Duke-Maryland game promises to be an exciting matchup also, as the Terps won the regular season game in College Park. While the prospect of exacting revenge against Duke in the final seems like fun, I would bet most fans are pulling hard for Maryland so that the Hoos could win it all without facing their Kryptonite.
If you are looking to head on over to Klockner, tickets are $20 for the tournament or $10 for each individual day (the semifinals are bundled together). Students, your ID won't get you in! The games tonight will be broadcast on ESPNU and also simulcast on ESPN3.com.
Let's go ahead and use this post as the game-thread for tonight's games. Enjoy the tourney, and let's go Hoos!