What is success? Is it a six-game winning streak? Is it a number two national ranking? Is it the title of defending national champions?
Although it has bragging rights on all of the above, the No. 2 Virginia men's lacrosse team defines its accomplishments differently. Success is not a number or label. It is the sum of efforts put together and repeated day in and day out.
It is this desire for improvement that North Carolina, in the midst of a three-game losing streak, will have to face when they host the Cavaliers at Fetzer Field tomorrow at 2 p.m.
Despite rolling through their competition after dropping their season opener, coach Dom Starsia's Cavs still see room for progress. Although he has put together an outstanding 85-28 record and taken the Cavs to the NCAA Tournament in each of his seven seasons at Virginia, Starsia is never satisfied with his team. Under his guidance, the Cavaliers constantly work on developing, expanding and perfecting their game.
"We need to come out every day and be better than before we started playing that day," midfielder Jay Jalbert said. "Every day we have to become better, whether we're playing Radford or Carolina or Duke, with every day of practice and every game."
With one of the toughest schedules in the nation, the Cavaliers (6-1) can't afford to overlook any teams this season, especially not No. 10 North Carolina (6-3).
The Cavs' hands will be full handling the Tar Heels' dangerous attack trio of Chase Martin, Matt Crofton and Jeff Sonke. Martin leads the Tar Heels in both goals scored (20) and points (31), while Crofton leads them in assists (14). Sonke is tied with Crofton at 28 points.
"We're not looking past them at all," Jalbert said. "They've got a lot of heart and we know they're going to give us a battle, so we're just going to come out and play our game."
The Cavalier defense hopes to combat the Heels' attack unit with senior Ryan Curtis and sophomore Mark Koontz. Curtis is a returning first-team All-American and the 1999 National Defenseman of the Year. Koontz, who was recently named ACC Player of the Week, had a career-high eight ground balls in Virginia's 11-6 win over Maryland last Friday.
They may already have plenty of success under their belts this season, but Curtis, Koontz and the rest of the Cavs hope their constant search for improvement will lead them past the Heels tomorrow and down the road to another national title.