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Men’s lacrosse prepares for must-win game at Georgetown

Cavaliers look to rebound after two straight ACC losses

It was another disappointing game for Virginia in a 14-8 loss against Duke Sunday at Klöckner Stadium. After hanging with the Blue Devils for most of the first half, No. 16 Duke (8-6, 2-2 ACC) pulled away in the second.

“We held them in check for a while and we wore down,” junior defenseman Tanner Scales said. “As a team we didn’t get it done.”

Most of the team pointed to finishing, or a lackthereof, as a large part of the Duke loss. Virginia is converting 26.5 percent of its shots on the season, while its opponents have converted 29.7 percent.

“We kept on getting good shots,” senior attackman James Pannell said. “We just didn’t bury them.”

Duke, on the other hand, was much more lethal with the ball, scoring on 38.9 percent of its shots compared to just 17 percent by the Cavaliers (6-7, 0-4 ACC).

“I thought we played hard throughout but what has hurt us throughout the year is not quite sharp enough when we need to be,” coach Dom Starsia said. “They were sharper shooting the ball and finishing. That’s been our issue throughout the year we just haven’t been able to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Virginia is now winless in the ACC and will miss the conference tournament for the third consecutive year. Each of the past two seasons, the Cavaliers ended up making the NCAA Tournament, losing in the first round both years. To have a shot getting back there, they must win their last two games.

“We got to win those last two to have a chance,” Scales said.

The team is trying to put the NCAA Tournament on the backburner and simply think about their next opponent, Georgetown (2-10, 1-3 Big East). While neither team has had the season it wanted, Virginia is not looking past Georgetown because of its lowly record.

“Records, as you can see, aren’t always the best distinction of what a team is,” junior attackman Ryan Lukacovic said. “I think Georgetown will be a good team. We’re still in this thing, we’re still in the fight.”

Starsia, stressing the unpredictability of Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament, does not think they are out of it either. Georgetown only has two double-digit scorers on the season with senior midfielder Joe Bucci tallying 13 goals and freshman attackman Daniel Bucaro netting 14. Bucaro also has 11 assists on the year, leading the team in both categories.

The Cavaliers have been much more successful offensively thus far, with six double-digit scorers and three players with double digit assists. Pannell and Lukacovic lead the way with 26 goals and 11 assists and 19 goals and 12 assists, respectively.

Virginia and Georgetown had three of the same games on their schedule — Loyola, Duke and Notre Dame. Both teams lost all three of those games, most of which were not close in the end. The exception is the Cavaliers’ overtime loss against to Notre Dame last month.

While the past few years have not been as successful, the team does not think it is because they are less talented than their opponents. Still, the group is unsure why they are not having success in the conference schedule.

“That’s what we’re all trying to figure out,” Scales said.

After the game against the Hoyas, Virginia will play against No. 3 Brown in the ACC-Brown Showcase. Brown’s (11-1, 4-0 IVY) only loss on the year was an early April overtime thriller against Bryant. The team is shooting 37.3 percent on the year and has 199 team goals and 138 assists. By comparison, the Cavaliers have 140 goals, although their opponents have only scored 129 goals. Brown has allowed 105 goals on the year.

Still, Virginia has not given up yet.

“We’re just gonna try and finish out as strong as possible,” Pannell said.

The game against the Hoyas is a 7 p.m. showdown in Washington, D.C. Saturday. The team plays Brown, in Georgia, the following Saturday.


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