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Virginia Lacrosse Preview: Syracuse Orange

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The 2014 rendition of college lacrosse's greatest rivalry is set for 7:30 tonight at Klockner. Get your knowledge on here first

USA TODAY Sports

Who would have thought that a Virginia-Syracuse lacrosse match-up would be relegated to status as the OTHER Virginia-Syracuse game on a given day? After all, the winner of this game won five out of seven national titles from 2000 to 2006. Dickie V may not be bringing the ESPN cameras over to Klockner anytime soon, but this is always a red-letter matchup for any college lacrosse fan.

Syracuse has started its season 2-1 with its first loss having come to ACC foe Maryland just last week. The Orange handled Siena 19-7 to open the year, then outlasted the Thompson trio of Albany in a 17-16 overtime thriller.

The most distinguishing feature of this year's squad may be its lack of a household name. There's no Gait, no Powell—heck, not even JoJo Marasco. Nicky Galasso's string of unfortunate injuries has continued; he's been sidelined with an upper body injury and has only played in one game.

Dylan Donahue has paced Syracuse's scoring so far this year with 17 points (12 g, 5 a). The Virginia defense will need to get on his hands and keep him from shooting: he puts 77 percent of his shots on goal, and his 18 goals have come on only 18 shots. Hakeem Lecky plays much the role for Syracuse that Chris LaPierre does for Virginia and should make for a matchup headache.

Chris Daddio has won 39 of 70 face-offs, good for a mark of 55.7 percent. The Cavalier face-off unit did extraordinarily well against Rutgers and Joe Nardella, who came into the game winning almost 90 percent of his draws. Another quality effort will be necessary to keep Virginia on the right side of the possession battle.

The biggest question mark for the Orange is in goal. Dominic Lamolinara has started all three games but saved less than half of his shots against. Bobby Wardwell has actually played more minutes (90 to Lamolinara's 83) and has a better save percentage (58 to 48). We may not know until 7:30 who will start, and may not know until halftime who will play the second half.

No Virginia fan needs reminding that there's a game at JPJ right now. But if you need some info to navigate what will certainly be a traffic/parking nightmare, as always the University has put out some guidance. Get to Klockner if you can and cheer on our Hoos!