Defending champs hit final stretch

Defending champs hit final stretch

The Cavalier men’s lacrosse team (10-1) began this season in the shadow of last year’s 17-0 record and NCAA championship. Head Coach Dom Starsia talks about this season’s early loss to Drexel, facing Duke, and why rising star Ben Rubeor is no poor man’s Matt Poskay. Here’s some of what he had to say.

C-VILLE: Is it a lot of pressure, following up a season like last year’s?

Dom Starsia:
Actually, I was looking forward to this year. We had a very mature group last year, and I would joke with people that it was a sabbatical for me in some ways. I think part of the fascination of doing this is kind of starting over again. I didn’t expect us to start as abruptly as losing our first game to Drexel. But I look back at the Drexel game and I think it did help us put 2006 behind us. We probably were well served by getting smacked.

Dom Starsia, UVA men’s lacrosse head coach, says the defending NCAA champs were probably “well served by getting smacked” in their first game this year.

Ben Rubeor, the nation’s leading scorer, was just named ACC Player of the Week. Can you talk about his journey?

There are times when a boy just steps on your campus and he’s a leader right away. [Rubeor] earned the respect of everybody with a toughness that his appearance sort of belies. He’s not someone to be trifled with. Last year, we’re undefeated, we win a national championship, and we graduate all those guys. I think Ben understood what his role on this team was gonna have to be, and he prepared himself thoroughly.

How do you feel about your upcoming Duke matchup?

Duke is one of the most talented teams in the country. People talk about them being on a mission—you certainly can see the determination in the way they play. For us, it’s a game that we’re not going to have a hard time getting our kids’ attention for. The last time we played Duke they beat us 17-2, and we were down in Durham, so I think we’ll be looking forward to going down there.

Who will be the teams to beat in the NCAA tournament?

I think it’s as wide open a field as I’ve ever seen, and I think you’d have a hard time predicting who’s actually going to be there in the end. There’s still just too much lacrosse to be played.

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