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Top-ranked Virginia battles border rival

Maryland looks to avenge seven-overtime defeat last year; Starsia prepares No. 1 team for

After last year's seven-overtime thriller between the No. 1 Virginia men's lacrosse team and the Terrapins, the latter may be looking for revenge. And even though they are currently undefeated, the Cavaliers will be sure to not take this formidable opponent lightly in their ACC-opener tomorrow at College Park.

"There is no question that the conference games are the physically most athletic teams we play during the course of the year," Virginia coach Dom Starsia. "There is just a level of familiarity that is unprecedented."This season, the No. 4 Terrapins (6-1, 1-1 ACC) have already undergone two close bouts in the ACC, defeating Duke 11-10 in overtime and suffering a 9-7 loss to No. 2 North Carolina.

With three conference games looming, the top-ranked Cavaliers, Starsia said, are entering a string of contests he referred to as a "meat grinder."

"I've always felt like getting to this point in the schedule is like the halfway point," Starsia said. "We just happen to have all our games ganged up together like this - which wouldn't be my choice."\nThe Cavaliers will have to deal with Maryland's potent offense, which boasts several standout athletes.

During each of his first two seasons, junior Grant Catalino, a hefty 6-foot-5, 225-pound attackman, scored more than 25 goals and has notched 15 already in 2010. The junior also has posted 16 assists this year.

Another standout for the Terrapins is senior Will Yeatman, who, at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, will be a powerful force for the Maryland attack, as well.

"We are probably going to deal with those guys in different ways," senior midfielder Max Pomper said. "Catalino is probably their biggest scoring threat so we are going to have to keep on him."

Yeatman has seen time on the midfield recently, which could present matchup problems for the smaller Virginia line.

"I think you just have to play him early - you have to really get out to him when he starts his dodge," Pomper said. "[Yeatman is] actually a guy that's pretty quick so you have to make sure he doesn't get a full head of steam on you."

The Cavalier midfield combined for eight goals in its last matchup against Johns Hopkins and will look to build off this strong performance against Maryland.

The game will begin at 8 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.

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