In perhaps their most surprising performance of the season, the Virginia men's lacrosse team, who this past weekend posted an impressive 18-4 shalacking of Mount St. Mary's in the first round of the NCAA Championship. This, as we all know by now, coming after perhaps the worst couple weeks of head coach Dom Starsia's, and perhaps the rest of the team's, life.
Virginia jumped to a quick 8-0 lead over Mount St. Mary's, and it wasn't until around the 10:00 mark of the second quarter that the Mount was able to make their mark on the scoreboard. Aside from the commentators insisting on reminding us of the tragic events every three minutes, the game was a breath of fresh air to the coach, players, and fans alike.
During the postgame press conference, you could see the wear in the eyes of Coach Starsia, who said that it was "a joy to be playing lacrosse again." He continued, "I really just wanted us to win so we could have some more time. It would've been really hard if we'd had to disperse now, and I think it's really good that we can stay together another week."
I suspect that he isn't just speaking about the team here. He, who recently lost his father who had been battling with various types of cancer, has been in and out of town dealing with both the ongoing investigations and his own family.
Ken Clausen, who served as a pallbearer for Yeardley Love's funeral last week and calls Love one of his best friends, said that "By escaping and releasing some emotions and getting back to something we all love,I think that definitely helps us heal."
Mount St. Mary's head coach also shared his team's condolences for Virginia's off-the-field loss, calling Virginia "the No. 1 team in the country for a reason." He continued, 'We hoped that this No. 1 team would rebound for their coach, who is a very classy guy, and play the way they did."
The women's team was not present in the stands, as head coach Julie Myers explained that with the men's game at 7:30p.m., the women's game the next morning at 12:11, and the media frenzy surrounding Klockner, the women needed to rest. No doubt they must have been watching and cheering on the men from their hotel rooms.
Virginia takes on 8th-seeded Stony Brook next Sunday at Stony Brook. The game will be televised on ESPNU.