Today, the University of Virginia and Coach Dom Starsia released the names of the three young men selected to be team captains for the 2013-2014 men's lacrosse team. Last season, Chris 'Shocker' LaPierre was named the sole captain, the first in team history. This year, however, the Wahoos went back to the more familiar format, naming fourth years Rob Emery, Bobby Hill, and Scott McWilliams as captains.
The trio have all been significant contributors from day one at UVA, and Coach Starsia backs up the team's decision wholeheartedly, stating in the press release, “I am very happy to announce our captains for the coming year. These young men have been leaders, on and off the field, since the day they arrived on Grounds. In every way they reflect the ideals of a Virginia student-athlete. There has been an edge to practice and the workouts since we began a month ago and the urgency of our preparation reflects the tone that Rob, Bobby and Scott have exhibited on a daily basis. We are also blessed to have other outstanding leaders in the program and we will benefit from everyone's example. ”
Emery, a Third Team USILA All-American last season, boasted 22 goals and six assists for the Wahoos in the spring in 2013. He will be a huge part of the first midfield as a heady and technically sound player (Emery had zero penalty minutes and started 15-15 games). Matt Emery, Rob's little brother, is a first year for the 'Hoos this year, which is an interesting dynamic in the captain/player relationship.
Bobby Hill is one of the most underrated short stick defenders in the NCAA. I don't mind saying it. His stat line isn't always the flashiest (2 goals, 2 assists, 22 ground balls, and 9 caused turnovers last year), but he's gritty and relentless on defense.
McWilliams is the centerpiece of a strong defensive corps returning for the Cavaliers. His 36 caused turnovers last season were good enough for second in the NCAA and fourth in NCAA caused turnovers per game (2.40). Scott also added 48 ground balls and one goal and four assists. His speed and athleticism are in line with the type of defenders Coach Starsia likes to play (see: Brett Hughes). He has been a great role model already for the likes of Tanner Scales, and with a crop of new young defenders (Canadian Andrew Mullen and Michael Rhoads to name a couple) his expertise is much needed. Oh, and he's a 2013 USILA Second Team All American. No biggie.
Emery, Hill, and McWilliams are all positive choices to get Virginia Lacrosse back on track after a rough season last year. Strong leadership will be key to returning the Wahoos to the Championship game, as strong leaders like Bray Malphrus have proven in the past. With recent incidents like the lacrosse hazing at Cornell, coaches around the league are counting on their student athletes to lead their squads in the right direction and prepare them for Spring.
Virginia will travel to San Francisco to take on Princeton in the San Francisco Fall Lacrosse Classic on 12 October. Go here for details and tickets.