No. 15 Virginia opens season against No. 5 Loyola
Cavalier men’s lacrosse begins new era under Lars Tiffany
After a long and eventful offseason, the No. 15 Virginia men’s lacrosse team will finally play in its season opener this Saturday in a highly-anticipated matchup against one of the top teams in the country — No. 5 Loyola.
After 24 seasons with former coach Dom Starsia leading the Cavaliers, the men’s lacrosse team will have a new leader this season, with coach Lars Tiffany taking the reins.
The former Brown University coach will give the team a new look, bringing his up-tempo, fast paced system to Charlottesville.
Virginia has spent the offseason conditioning and getting ready to play a full season in this new system, and Tiffany said it has progressed well.
“Our practices are very fast, very up-tempo,” Tiffany said. “We go so fast in practice we don’t need to do sprints at the end, and I’ve seen the difference between the guys doing drills in October, versus doing drills now in February … they’re not [just] surviving the drill — they’re thriving in sort of these tougher drills.”
Tiffany said the Virginia players have worked hard to get comfortable with the up-tempo pace.
“They’ve been trying to embrace it since day one,” Tiffany said. “There have been moments where they revert back to old habits, old ways … [but] that’s natural.”
However, Tiffany said that the scrimmages on Virginia’s schedule have allowed the team to work out the kinks of the new system.
“I’m glad we had a few scrimmages — not all sports have scrimmages and I’m glad we had a few to kind of get through some of that rust,” Tiffany said. “The last scrimmage we had against Maryland, we actually got to see more of a consistent effort … that was a good step and a lot of good buy in that day.”
Tiffany also noted his team is enthusiastic for the start of the season.
“Emotionally, the excitement is here, and we’re ready,” Tiffany said.
Tiffany talked about how although the starting goalie for the team will probably be junior goalie Will Railey, the position is not set in stone.
“We still have a couple more days of practice here,” Tiffany said. “We have a depth chart … and [it] changes based on … practice.
Tiffany was quick to state that he doesn’t need perfection from his goalie — he just wants consistency and positivity.
“We don’t need [perfection], we don’t need greatness,” Tiffany said. “I just need [consistency], and I need a positive mental attitude.”
During the preseason, Tiffany said that Virginia had often not been at 100 percent come match time.
“We practice so hard that we’re not always in great shape by Saturday’s scrimmage, and that’s intentional,” Tiffany said.
He stated that his team had practiced a bit slower to avoid being burnt out for the actual match in preparation for Saturday’s season opener..
“Now that it’s a real game, I’ve started recognizing [that] I’ve got to be careful about how hard we go,” Tiffany said.
Though he said it hasn’t been easy — especially for a coach that loves to practice as hard as possible at all time — he knows it’s for the good of the team.
“I feel best as a coach at practice when we’re going a hundred miles per hour — I don’t like the light days,” Tiffany said.
Virginia will take on Loyola in Baltimore, Md. Saturday at 1 p.m. to kick off the season.