It was just over two weeks ago when the Virginia Cavaliers found themselves in a dogfight of a first round matchup with Bucknell. It was the same old Virginia team we had seen the entire 2011 season and it was easy for the critics to pick a Bucknell upset as the brackets were released.
But on that Sunday in overtime on Klockner Field in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers found a way to win and thats what good teams do. Doesn't matter how, they find ways to win.
From there on out, we all know the story. They outscored their opponents 36-24 en route to yesterday's 9-7 win over Maryland.
In many ways, this team was more scary without the Bratton brothers because of the way they moved the ball so well. Yes, Rhamel and Shamel are amazing talents, but the one thing we learned from this 2011 Cavaliers team is that lacrosse is still a team sport--always will be. No one player has ever won a game squarely on their shoulders.
What Dom Starsia did with this offense was what people thought the Cav's offense could and should do all along. With a quarterback and leader like Steele Stanwick in charge of the offense, the options are endless and the nation started to see that against Bucknell in which Stanwick had three goals and five assists. Then one week later against Cornell the junior attackman had three goals and four assists. Against Denver in the semi-finals, Stanwick again carried the offense with a three goal, two assist performance.
But what may be most impressive is the way the offense and some role players stepped up in the biggest game of their lives. Junior Colin Briggs, suspended by Starsia for Saturday's game against the Pioneers, came back with a giant "thank you" to Starsia and scored a career high five goals.
What we saw out of this Cavalier team is a group that came together at the perfect time. With all the team has been through over the past two seasons, they could have quit, they could have given up. This was a team that got punched in the face numerous times and showed resiliency. When former star player Will Barrow committed suicide, they could have given up. When the George Hugely incident happened last season, they could have given up. When four players were suspended throughout the course of one season and two star midfielders were voted off the team by captains, they could have given up.
What we saw from this 2011 Cavalier team was a group that found a way to win. Good teams find ways to win,
Congrats to the 2011 Virginia Cavaliers.