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Archive for May 21, 2007

May 21, 2007 — The Final Four — Inside Virginia

Today, we look at the 2004 champions, who will be the 3 seed in Philadelphia:

Virginia Cavaliers

How they got here: Received at-large bid on the strength of a 16-3 record, including a victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

Road to Philadelphia: Bested Princeton 19-10 in Round 1, then topped North Carolina 14-8 in Round 2.

“Statement” win: Defeated Maryland 15-4 on March 13.

Against the Final Four Field: Lost to Duke 19-18 (2 OT).

When Virginia Has The Ball: Once you get by senior Kate Breslin (65 goals, 27 assists). the rest of the Cavaliers’ attack unit is extremely young: sophomores Ashley McCullough (29-32) and Blair Weymouth (53-26) and freshman Brittany Kalkstein (42-8 ) are strong, and are scoring almost 13 goals per game, shooting around 36 percent.

When Virginia Doesn’t Have The Ball: Opponents, however, are shooting around a 49 percent clip against the Cavaliers. Kaitlin Duff leads the team in groundball pickups, caused turnovers, and draw controls. Thing is, she’s a wing midfielder and not a close defender.

The Skinny: Like Duke, Virginia has to rely on that ragged edge between breakneck 90s-style lacrosse and the execution style of lacrosse that suited the team when Amy Appelt was the Tewaaraton Trophy winner.

The Judgment: You have to like Virginia’s chances against Duke in the semifinal match on the revenge factor alone. The Cavaliers have made it to the NCAA championship game three out of the last four years and five out of the last nine.