Starsia ain't lyin':
“I do not think it is an exaggeration to suggest that the challenge in 2014 is epic in the history of our sport,” said Starsia. “The 2014 ACC men's lacrosse conference may be the strongest assembled in NCAA history in any sport. Five of the six teams in this conference have won NCAA championships and this schedule features every NCAA champion since 2001.”
Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
No More Wire Hangars!
February 28: Syracuse; March 8: Cornell; March 30: @Maryland; April 5: North Carolina
Virginia suffered six losses last season of three goals or less. In those six losses -- against Syracuse, Cornell, Ohio State, Maryland (in the teams' regular season meeting), and North Carolina (both in the regular season and in the ACC Tournament) -- Virginia's average margin of defeat was around two goals (three were one-goal defeats). The face-smashing aspect of those losses, though, was that the Cavaliers, based on year-end performance values in a log5 environment, were a notable underdog in all but one game: Against Ohio State (one of the Cavs' one-goal losses). In all other games, Virginia's opponent had at least a 60 percent chance of victory. Despite those overmatched odds, Virginia took Syracuse to overtime, fell to the Red with only a few ticks on the scoreboard, put together a valiant comeback against the Terps but ran out of time, and hung around with the Tar Heels despite the duplicated three-goal results. In 2014, the Cavaliers should be out for blood against these four teams to try and exact some revenge. Virginia isn't used to being in a position where victory remains tantalizingly close but unachievable. The coming spring provides an opportunity to experience some course correction in the universe.
February 28: Syracuse; March 8: Cornell; March 16: @Notre Dame; March 22: Johns Hopkins; March 25: VMI; March 30: @Maryland; April 5: @North Carolina; April 11: Duke
In a span of 43 days Virginia will travel 865 miles, play eight games against seven of the strongest teams in the nation (including the team's entire ACC regular season slate), and probably look a lot different at the end of the stretch (which ends in mid-April) than it did at the beginning of the haul (which starts on the last day of February). This is a magnificent effort in trying to survive a situation that involves pickup trucks bursting into flames and anarchists attempting to push the plunger on those cartoonish dynamite detonators. The only relief in the maniacal binge is the date against VMI, and even that comes after hosting Hopkins and before Virginia hoofs it to College Park for what should be a vitally important date against Maryland. Working in the Cavaliers' favor, though, is the fact that only one of these games occurs with fewer than five days rest before things are blown to bits: The home date against the Keydets. Regardless, this is still a bonkers 43 days of nonstop insanity, the kind of schedule that exponentially creates problems if things start to go sideways.