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No. 9 Syracuse men’s lacrosse vs. No. 2 Virginia: Game Thread

One of the fiercest rivalries in all of lacrosse returns on Saturday in Charlottesville.

Photo by Jack Wallace

Saturday’s focus in the 315 is going to be all about the goings-on inside the Carrier Dome, where good friends Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski will meet for the final scheduled time in their careers.

While the Dome court will serve as the evening entree, the field of Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, VA will operate as the matinee appetizer for the renewal of the high-octane rivalry between the Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team and the Virginia Cavaliers. The game is set for a 12 PM face-off on ACC Network.

The Orange (1-1) are ranked No. 9 and coming off their first loss of the season in a hard-fought, 14-10 defeat to the No. 1 ranked Maryland Terrapins. The Cavaliers (3-0) have two blow-out wins over Air Force and Towson sandwiched around a one-goal victory over High Point.

The series between the Orange and Cavs is historically the tightest in the whole sport. Coming into last year, the teams were even in both the all-time series and the all-time goal count in the series.

But last year got kind of weird, as a ‘Cuse team who was otherwise owned by the top teams they played, beat UVA twice before the Cavs went on to win the national championship.

Phaup’s Dominance

One of the main reasons SU was able to win both games last year was the play of face-off man Jakob Phaup versus his UVA counterpart, Petey LaSalla. LaSalla was one of the best FOGOs in the country last year, earning All-American honors at season’s end. But against SU, he was dominated by Phaup, who won an astounding 46-of-60 (76.7 %) in the two games.

Highlighting the fact that sometimes face-offs can come down to whose technique works better in an individual matchup, Phaup, a great FOGO in his own right, owned the X against one of the nation’s best at the position.

Both are back this year to battle again. And to win, the Orange might need Phaup to be just as good this year.

Bobby’s Back

SU goalie Bobby Gavin is coming off a tremendous effort against Maryland, making 11 saves to help keep the game close in moments when the Orange offense was struggling.

Just a week later, Gavin will return to the place he called home earlier this school year. Bobby didn’t finalize his transfer to SU until the end of the fall semester, so he’s returning to a place that both he knows and that knows him.

Will Bobby’s knowledge of Virginia shooters be an advantage for SU, or will Virginia’s offense know just where to place the ball against their former goalie?

Injury Issues

Virginia enters the weekend a little bit banged up all over the field. The headliner is attackman Matt Moore, one of Virginia’s most dangerous weapons and one of the best attackers in the entire country. Moore didn’t play last weekend against Towson, and head coach Lars Tiffany has said he’s day-to-day and questionable for this weekend.

Tiffany said the same of midfielder Jeff Conner and defender Ben Wayer, meaning the Cavs have players in all three phases of their roster who are banged up heading into this one. Keep an eye out for those names as their inclusion or their absence could play a big role in helping to decide this game.