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The Last Great Super Team: 2006 Virginia

Highlights and some notes about possibly the last super team that college lacrosse will see.

The era of the super team may be over in Division I lacrosse. With increased competitiveness throughout college lacrosse and more and more schools investing in their programs, ultra-dominating teams -- a hallmark of Division I's first 30 or so years of existence -- may be extinct. Impressive teams are different now than they were a decade ago, and the last great skull-crusher that college lacrosse has seen at its highest level was the 2006 edition of the Virginia Cavaliers.

Record: 17-0
Tournament Seed: 1
National Champion?: National champion
Four Really Important Names: Matt Ward (A); Kyle Dixon (M); Matt Poskay (M); Ben Rubeor (M)
Hall of Famers: Zero (yet)
All-Americans: Eight -- Matt Ward, Kyle Dixon, Mike Culver (First Team); Ben Rubeor, Matt Poskay, Drew Thompson (Second Team); Richard Smith, Kip Turner (Third Team)
Scoring Margin per Game: 8.24 (15th all-time)

  • This was easily the best team of the 2000's, and I'll fight you with a knife about it. On the year, Virginia dropped 10 -- 10! -- teams in LaxPower's top 15 -- Denver, Syracuse (twice), Princeton, Towson, Johns Hopkins, Maryland (twice), Georgetown, and Massachusetts. In those games, Virginia held a +68 aggregated scoring margin, good for a 6.8 margin per game. That is . . . that is insanity. Virginia didn't need overtime all year to generate a win and all but two games -- against Princeton in the regular season and against Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament -- did the Cavaliers fail to win by at least six goals. It was a powerhouse at both ends of the field, scoring at least 20 goals five times and holding opponents to under ten goals 12 times (in five of those games, Virginia held their opponents to five or fewer scores). This was unseen demolition wrapped in perfection in an era of strong play throughout Division I.
  • I know per-game statistics are misleading -- I don't think that statement could have any more "duh!" in it -- but this fact stood out as ridiculous: In 2006, Maryland held opponents to only 6.47 goals per game (the 16th best mark ever in terms of scoring defense); Virginia put 15 and 11 goals on the Terps in their two meetings in 2006. That's stupid incredible.
  • The team's raw -- unadjusted for competition faced -- offensive and defensive efficiency values are headliners: The Cavaliers scored on around 36 percent of their overall offensive opportunities and yielded a tally on only about 20 percent of their defensive opportunities. (Based on LaxPower's strength of schedule ranking for Virginia in 2006 (eighth), it's expected that the Cavaliers' adjusted values would look beyond bonkers.) Those are strong -- impressively strong -- values, especially in the modern era of the game. Would Virginia's fate have been different if the Cavs had played Duke before the Blue Devils had their season suspended? Maybe, but Duke had already lost two games before their season was cut short (to Maryland (in overtime) and Cornell, and Virginia hammered the Terps twice that season (15-5 and 11-5)). Virginia was a pain machine all season, and their profile reflects that of a crushing destroyer of souls.