Saturday, June 30, 2012

Steele Stanwick heats up in the MLL


Steele Stanwick's MLL Journey Heats Up Following Career as One of UVA's All-Time Greats

InsideLacrosse.com
(Photo: Mike Bahniuk)


Steele Stanwick graduated from the University of Virginia in May as one of its all-time great players, a three-time All-American, the 2011 Tewaaraton Trophy winner and national champion and the Cavaliers' all-time leader with 269 points. With Stanwick's pro career just starting with Major League Lacrosse's Ohio Machine, IL writer Caroline Darney looks back at his impressive college experience.
ILGEAR.COM
Every spring a handful of highly touted lacrosse recruits step foot onto the field with their whole careers in front of them. Some see playing time, some become stars, and some hit the record books.
Then there is Steele Stanwick. Standing an unassuming 6-foot, 190 lbs., he is one of eight children in an exceptionally talented family of lacrosse stars. At Loyola-Blakefield High School, Stanwick set a school record 231 career points (123G, 108A), earning him two All-American nods, a spot in the Under Armour All-American game, and the title ofInside Lacrosse's No. 1 recruit in the country.
Steele entered the first-year class at the University of Virginia in the fall of 2008, joining a Cavalier squad that won the national championship in 2006 and reached the semifinals that previous spring. Immediately, Stanwick made his mark on the lacrosse field, notching two goals and two assists in the season-opener against Drexel. Stanwick cruised through the rest of the season, scoring 36 goals and dishing 22 assists en route to being named the ACC Rookie of the Year and setting a University of Virginia freshman points record (58). Steele tied a career high four goals in his first ACC matchup, a win against Maryland that was memorable for many reasons.
Steele Stanwick, at his Inside Lacrosse photo shoot in 2008. (Inside Lacrosse Photo)
“We've played in a lot of cool games [in my career]...for me, the first one I think of is my freshman year against Maryland when we went into 7OT,” Stanwick says. “I think that one stands out purely based on history.”
As a first-year player, Stanwick was fortunate to be surrounded by a plethora of experienced leaders, who quickly became role models for the blossoming attackman.
“When I was a freshman,” Steele said in a recent interview. “I had guys like Danny Glading, Max Pomper, Mikey Thompson, Ken Clausen and Mike Timms as role models, just to name a few. Those guys were really great leaders and I don't think anyone was a big talker. I thought they were great leaders in the way they showed it on the field. I always looked up to them because that's what a great leader does...leads by example.”
His sophomore season, Stanwick built on his initial success, finishing second on the team with 61 points (29G, 32A) and found his go-to-guy in fellow sophomore attackman Chris Bocklet. The postseason awards continued to pile up for Steele, who nabbed himself a spot on the All-ACC, All-ACC Tournament and All-NCAA Championship Teams, while earning recognition as a USILA second-team All-American.
Coaches all around the league began to realize what Virginia head coach Dom Starsia had always known.
“Steele was not nearly the biggest, fastest, quickest, or the most athletic attackman in recent memory … although he was more athletic than people gave him credit for,” Starsia said via email. “However, he may be the best-skilled and smartest attackman I have ever had the great joy to witness. His ability to shoot with both hands, to throw a catchable ball and to anticipate plays unfolding was uncanny. He has Jeff Long's hands and Darren Lowe's or Conor Gill's eyes.”
Entering his third year, Stanwick and the Cavaliers were named No. 2 in the Inside Lacrosse preseason polls, a ranking they lived up to until losing four of their last six games of the regular season. Within that stretch, Stanwick missed Virginia's regular-season matchup with Duke because of a foot injury, a game the Wahoos lost by a narrow margin of 13-11. While many critics and fans at that point had written off Virginia, Stanwick and his fellow captains led a revamped squad to a convincing 11-2 win over Penn and a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia faced upstart Bucknell in the first round and found themselves down 10-6 late in the third quarter. Stanwick, proceeded to take part in six of the last seven goals of the game, scoring the game tying goal and assisting the overtime winner, in what was one of the most exciting college lacrosse games in recent history. Steele finished with three goals and five assists, and the Cavalier victory appeared to breathe new life into the squad.
The junior came alive in the Cavaliers' subsequent march to the NCAA Championship, rattling off six goals and six assists in the quarterfinal and semifinal match-ups against Cornell and Denver. The University of Virginia won its fifth national championship in a 9-7 victory over the University of Maryland, in a game where red-hot Stanwick notched only one assist.
His contributions to the game, however, far exceeded what the stat line showed, essentially neutralizing Maryland's top defenseman while quarterbacking the Virginia offense and creating a lasting memory for the attackman.
“I think to have that success with your 40 best friends and your three coaches,” Stanwick said. “That's something you're going to remember forever.”
Coach Starsia agrees with his star and considers the 2011 national championship one of Steele's greatest accomplishments in his four years at Virginia: “While he had a injured foot and was the focal point of every opponent's preparation, he adjusted his own role and molded the people around him into a unit that won a championship under the most unlikely of circumstances.”
Stanwick finished the season All-ACC, ACC Player of the Year, a member of the All-NCAA Championship Team, and a USILA first-team All-American. On top of all that, he finished the year with 32 goals and 38 assists for 70 points, and his postseason performance combined with his regular-season consistency earned him the Tewaraaton Trophy.
Going into his senior season, Stanwick and the Cavaliers were in position to repeat as national champions, a feat Virginia had never achieved. Dubbed one of the most prolific passers in recent lacrosse history, Stanwick's ability to slice and dice opposing defenses made him extremely difficult to guard. Double-team him and he will find the open man; leave him alone and he'll take his defender to the cage. In the win over Stony Brook on Feb. 25, 2012, Steele broke the 100 career goals and 100 career assists plateau, becoming only the third Cavalier and 44th player nationally to join the century club. He then went on to break the Virginia career points record in a loss to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament semifinals, eventually eclipsing the mark of 249 points set by Doug Knight from 1994-97.
Stanwick's 29 goals and 51 assists in his senior campaign brought his career total to 269 points, with his 126 career goals landing him seventh and his 143 assists earning him fourth in the Virginia lacrosse record books.
“Getting to the points record at UVa. was pretty special for me just because I grew up loving Virginia lacrosse so much and there are so many good players that have played there.,” he says. “[It is] something I am proud of. Also, I couldn't have gotten to those points without every one of the people I've played with.”
After beating Princeton in a defensive battle in the opening round, the Cavaliers exited the 2012 NCAA Tournament in the quarterfinals with a 12-10 loss to Notre Dame, ending their season with a 12-4 record. Stanwick repeated as ACC Player of the Year and as a first team All-American, while also receiving the Turnbull Award, given to the top collegiate attackman. Stanwick was also a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and the 2012 Tewaraaton Trophy.
Despite the laundry list of tangible awards that have highlighted Stanwick's stellar career, his most impressive achievements cannot be measured by statistics or box scores. His humility and respect for the game is apparent in every play, and his dedication evident in every practice. After every game in Charlottesville, young fans would flock to the sidelines in their No. 6 jerseys hoping for an autograph from 'SS6', and rarely did anyone leave disappointed.
According to Starsia, one of the biggest losses Virginia will suffer next season is Steele's selfless leadership: “Is he the greatest player in UVa's long, illustrious history? Maybe. Is he the most modest, thoughtful and understated 'Great Player' in my 38-year coaching history in the game? Probably. He set a great example on a daily basis and made my job a lot easier.”
As a member of the Virginia Lacrosse team, Stanwick and his teammates have also given back to the Charlottesville community through multiple charity organizations. Former Cavalier defenseman Ken Clausen's Lacrosse Mustache Madness has earned around $200,000 in its first three years, with the Virginia squad participating annually. The Will Barrow Memorial Football Tournament, started by UVa. midfielder Max Pomper, has succeeded in raising thousands of dollars over the past three years for the UVa. HELP Line, a non-profit, student run, crisis hotline. On top of that, Starsia and the players volunteer every year at the Charlottesville Special Olympics Pepsi 10K, a cause close to the head coach's heart.
“I have 27-year-old 'special needs' twin daughters,” Starsia wrote in an email. “One of the most profound things I can say about Steele is that he is one of the girls's all-time favorite guys and they have no appreciation that he is any good as a player. They love him simply for who he is and for the generous and loving spirit he brings to their relationship.”
When it comes to future plans, Stanwick is still figuring it all out and taking everything in stride: “I'm kind of all over the place. I've been thinking about sponsorships and coaching...[I'm just] weighing my options right now. Lacrosse has given me so much and its hard to let it go and I don't think I'm ready to let it go right now. Only time will tell.”
As for right now, the recent graduate is two games (and eight points) into his Major League Lacrosse career with the Ohio Machine, after being drafted second overall in the Collegiate Draft and missing time in early June because of lingering injuries.
For those up-and-coming lacrosse stars out there, take it from Steele. The key to success is simple.
“Wall ball is a big part of maturing your game and getting better, especially as a young guy. If you can get on the wall for 20 minutes a day, everything else will follow.” Steele recommends. “Wallball and watching as much lacrosse as possible.”
If the fans and sport are lucky, that lacrosse will include Steele Stanwick for many years to come.  

Steele Stanwick heats up in the MLL


Steele Stanwick's MLL Journey Heats Up Following Career as One of UVA's All-Time Greats

InsideLacrosse.com
(Photo: Mike Bahniuk)


Steele Stanwick graduated from the University of Virginia in May as one of its all-time great players, a three-time All-American, the 2011 Tewaaraton Trophy winner and national champion and the Cavaliers' all-time leader with 269 points. With Stanwick's pro career just starting with Major League Lacrosse's Ohio Machine, IL writer Caroline Darney looks back at his impressive college experience.
ILGEAR.COM
Every spring a handful of highly touted lacrosse recruits step foot onto the field with their whole careers in front of them. Some see playing time, some become stars, and some hit the record books.
Then there is Steele Stanwick. Standing an unassuming 6-foot, 190 lbs., he is one of eight children in an exceptionally talented family of lacrosse stars. At Loyola-Blakefield High School, Stanwick set a school record 231 career points (123G, 108A), earning him two All-American nods, a spot in the Under Armour All-American game, and the title ofInside Lacrosse's No. 1 recruit in the country.
Steele entered the first-year class at the University of Virginia in the fall of 2008, joining a Cavalier squad that won the national championship in 2006 and reached the semifinals that previous spring. Immediately, Stanwick made his mark on the lacrosse field, notching two goals and two assists in the season-opener against Drexel. Stanwick cruised through the rest of the season, scoring 36 goals and dishing 22 assists en route to being named the ACC Rookie of the Year and setting a University of Virginia freshman points record (58). Steele tied a career high four goals in his first ACC matchup, a win against Maryland that was memorable for many reasons.
Steele Stanwick, at his Inside Lacrosse photo shoot in 2008. (Inside Lacrosse Photo)
“We've played in a lot of cool games [in my career]...for me, the first one I think of is my freshman year against Maryland when we went into 7OT,” Stanwick says. “I think that one stands out purely based on history.”
As a first-year player, Stanwick was fortunate to be surrounded by a plethora of experienced leaders, who quickly became role models for the blossoming attackman.
“When I was a freshman,” Steele said in a recent interview. “I had guys like Danny Glading, Max Pomper, Mikey Thompson, Ken Clausen and Mike Timms as role models, just to name a few. Those guys were really great leaders and I don't think anyone was a big talker. I thought they were great leaders in the way they showed it on the field. I always looked up to them because that's what a great leader does...leads by example.”
His sophomore season, Stanwick built on his initial success, finishing second on the team with 61 points (29G, 32A) and found his go-to-guy in fellow sophomore attackman Chris Bocklet. The postseason awards continued to pile up for Steele, who nabbed himself a spot on the All-ACC, All-ACC Tournament and All-NCAA Championship Teams, while earning recognition as a USILA second-team All-American.
Coaches all around the league began to realize what Virginia head coach Dom Starsia had always known.
“Steele was not nearly the biggest, fastest, quickest, or the most athletic attackman in recent memory … although he was more athletic than people gave him credit for,” Starsia said via email. “However, he may be the best-skilled and smartest attackman I have ever had the great joy to witness. His ability to shoot with both hands, to throw a catchable ball and to anticipate plays unfolding was uncanny. He has Jeff Long's hands and Darren Lowe's or Conor Gill's eyes.”
Entering his third year, Stanwick and the Cavaliers were named No. 2 in the Inside Lacrosse preseason polls, a ranking they lived up to until losing four of their last six games of the regular season. Within that stretch, Stanwick missed Virginia's regular-season matchup with Duke because of a foot injury, a game the Wahoos lost by a narrow margin of 13-11. While many critics and fans at that point had written off Virginia, Stanwick and his fellow captains led a revamped squad to a convincing 11-2 win over Penn and a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia faced upstart Bucknell in the first round and found themselves down 10-6 late in the third quarter. Stanwick, proceeded to take part in six of the last seven goals of the game, scoring the game tying goal and assisting the overtime winner, in what was one of the most exciting college lacrosse games in recent history. Steele finished with three goals and five assists, and the Cavalier victory appeared to breathe new life into the squad.
The junior came alive in the Cavaliers' subsequent march to the NCAA Championship, rattling off six goals and six assists in the quarterfinal and semifinal match-ups against Cornell and Denver. The University of Virginia won its fifth national championship in a 9-7 victory over the University of Maryland, in a game where red-hot Stanwick notched only one assist.
His contributions to the game, however, far exceeded what the stat line showed, essentially neutralizing Maryland's top defenseman while quarterbacking the Virginia offense and creating a lasting memory for the attackman.
“I think to have that success with your 40 best friends and your three coaches,” Stanwick said. “That's something you're going to remember forever.”
Coach Starsia agrees with his star and considers the 2011 national championship one of Steele's greatest accomplishments in his four years at Virginia: “While he had a injured foot and was the focal point of every opponent's preparation, he adjusted his own role and molded the people around him into a unit that won a championship under the most unlikely of circumstances.”
Stanwick finished the season All-ACC, ACC Player of the Year, a member of the All-NCAA Championship Team, and a USILA first-team All-American. On top of all that, he finished the year with 32 goals and 38 assists for 70 points, and his postseason performance combined with his regular-season consistency earned him the Tewaraaton Trophy.
Going into his senior season, Stanwick and the Cavaliers were in position to repeat as national champions, a feat Virginia had never achieved. Dubbed one of the most prolific passers in recent lacrosse history, Stanwick's ability to slice and dice opposing defenses made him extremely difficult to guard. Double-team him and he will find the open man; leave him alone and he'll take his defender to the cage. In the win over Stony Brook on Feb. 25, 2012, Steele broke the 100 career goals and 100 career assists plateau, becoming only the third Cavalier and 44th player nationally to join the century club. He then went on to break the Virginia career points record in a loss to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament semifinals, eventually eclipsing the mark of 249 points set by Doug Knight from 1994-97.
Stanwick's 29 goals and 51 assists in his senior campaign brought his career total to 269 points, with his 126 career goals landing him seventh and his 143 assists earning him fourth in the Virginia lacrosse record books.
“Getting to the points record at UVa. was pretty special for me just because I grew up loving Virginia lacrosse so much and there are so many good players that have played there.,” he says. “[It is] something I am proud of. Also, I couldn't have gotten to those points without every one of the people I've played with.”
After beating Princeton in a defensive battle in the opening round, the Cavaliers exited the 2012 NCAA Tournament in the quarterfinals with a 12-10 loss to Notre Dame, ending their season with a 12-4 record. Stanwick repeated as ACC Player of the Year and as a first team All-American, while also receiving the Turnbull Award, given to the top collegiate attackman. Stanwick was also a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and the 2012 Tewaraaton Trophy.
Despite the laundry list of tangible awards that have highlighted Stanwick's stellar career, his most impressive achievements cannot be measured by statistics or box scores. His humility and respect for the game is apparent in every play, and his dedication evident in every practice. After every game in Charlottesville, young fans would flock to the sidelines in their No. 6 jerseys hoping for an autograph from 'SS6', and rarely did anyone leave disappointed.
According to Starsia, one of the biggest losses Virginia will suffer next season is Steele's selfless leadership: “Is he the greatest player in UVa's long, illustrious history? Maybe. Is he the most modest, thoughtful and understated 'Great Player' in my 38-year coaching history in the game? Probably. He set a great example on a daily basis and made my job a lot easier.”
As a member of the Virginia Lacrosse team, Stanwick and his teammates have also given back to the Charlottesville community through multiple charity organizations. Former Cavalier defenseman Ken Clausen's Lacrosse Mustache Madness has earned around $200,000 in its first three years, with the Virginia squad participating annually. The Will Barrow Memorial Football Tournament, started by UVa. midfielder Max Pomper, has succeeded in raising thousands of dollars over the past three years for the UVa. HELP Line, a non-profit, student run, crisis hotline. On top of that, Starsia and the players volunteer every year at the Charlottesville Special Olympics Pepsi 10K, a cause close to the head coach's heart.
“I have 27-year-old 'special needs' twin daughters,” Starsia wrote in an email. “One of the most profound things I can say about Steele is that he is one of the girls's all-time favorite guys and they have no appreciation that he is any good as a player. They love him simply for who he is and for the generous and loving spirit he brings to their relationship.”
When it comes to future plans, Stanwick is still figuring it all out and taking everything in stride: “I'm kind of all over the place. I've been thinking about sponsorships and coaching...[I'm just] weighing my options right now. Lacrosse has given me so much and its hard to let it go and I don't think I'm ready to let it go right now. Only time will tell.”
As for right now, the recent graduate is two games (and eight points) into his Major League Lacrosse career with the Ohio Machine, after being drafted second overall in the Collegiate Draft and missing time in early June because of lingering injuries.
For those up-and-coming lacrosse stars out there, take it from Steele. The key to success is simple.
“Wall ball is a big part of maturing your game and getting better, especially as a young guy. If you can get on the wall for 20 minutes a day, everything else will follow.” Steele recommends. “Wallball and watching as much lacrosse as possible.”
If the fans and sport are lucky, that lacrosse will include Steele Stanwick for many years to come.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Starsia Reflects on 2012, Looks Ahead to '13 ~ #UVa #Lacrosse #DomStarsia #InDomWeTrust

Starsia Reflects on 2012, Looks Ahead to '13

Courtesy: VirginiaSports.com         Release: 06/05/2012
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Dom Starsia
View largerCourtesy: VirginiaSports.com

Dom Starsia
By Jeff White
jwhite@virginia.edu

CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Had Dom Starsia been told in January that Loyola would be crowned NCAA champion in men's lacrosse on Memorial Day, his response would have been predictable.
"I would have told you that I'm really surprised to hear that," Starsia, UVa's longtime coach, said last week.
Loyola, after all, was unranked in the USILA coaches' preseason poll. But the Greyhounds lost only once during the regular season and earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. In the title game, Loyola whipped unseeded Maryland 9-3 at Foxborough, Mass.
In 2011, as the No. 7 seed, UVa won its fourth NCAA title under Starsia and fifth overall. Virginia entered this year's NCAAs as the No. 5 seed and lost to Notre Dame in the quarterfinals.
This year's Final Four was the first since 1975 that did not include UVa, Syracuse or Johns Hopkins.
Loyola's run "sort of epitomized what this season was like," Starsia said. "It was almost a continuation of last spring. In a lot of ways we were an unlikely champion a year ago. We are Virginia and I understand that, but still, we came out of nowhere. And now we have an unseeded team playing Loyola for the national championship in 2012. We may be seeing more of this in our sport. I'm not ready to concede that parity has arrived, but there are certainly more players out there."
The 2012 recipient of the men's Tewaaraton Award, Colgate's Peter Baum, is from Portland, Ore., anything but a lacrosse hotbed.
"How unlikely is that?" Starsia said. "So Loyola's winning may reflect the growth of the game and the fact that there are just more players out there, and we may be seeing more of this in the future."
Starsia said be believes Loyola's triumph is "very good for the sport. Absolutely. I'd have preferred that the University of Virginia won the national championship, but I could see past that, and this is definitely good for the game. It's not just the big boys that have to do it all the time."
In 2011, Denver reached the Final Four. The University of Michigan has added men's lacrosse. And now the winner of the sport's most prestigious award, the Tewaaraton, is from the Pacific Northwest.
"So these little seeds are kind of sprouting up, and they're sprouting up more often now," Starsia said. "I think it speaks very directly to the growth of the game and the potential of the game to continue to grow."
To Starsia, the "most incredible thing about the playoffs was that there was no predictability in terms of what was going to happen in the next game. Nothing that happened previously was going to tell you what was likely to happen next."
Duke crushed Colgate in the NCAA quarterfinals, then struggled in a one-sided loss to Maryland. The Terrapins dominated Duke and then sputtered against Loyola, which had nearly been upset by Denver in the quarterfinals. In 2011, Starsia noted, UVa came perilously close to losing to Bucknell in the first round, then blew out Cornell a week later.
"You just need to win the game that's in front of you somehow," Starsia said.

His 20th season as UVa's coach included wins over Syracuse, Cornell, Maryland, North Carolina and Princeton. The Cavaliers finished 12-4. Still, more was expected of a team that included attackmen Steele Stanwick and Chris Bocklet, midfielders Colin Briggs and Rob Emery, long-stick middie Chris Clements, defensive middie Chris LaPierre, and defensemen Matt Lovejoy and Scott McWilliams.

"It was an unusual season for us," Starsia said. "As unlikely it was that we won in 2011, I feel that it's almost as unlikely that we didn't win in 2012. But the reason that sports fascinates us all is that you just can't guarantee results."
Starsia's teams have been known for their high-powered offenses. The 2012 Cavaliers, though, scored more than nine goals only twice in their last five games: in a 10-8 win over Penn in the regular-season finale and in the 12-10 loss to Notre Dame in the NCAA tourney.
"For whatever reason, we never were able to kind of gather any offensive momentum throughout the season," Starsia said. "We never were able to sort of meet our own expectations for who we were offensively, and I'm not laying this on the doorstep of the offensive guys or anything. It was never for a lack of effort. We had good people. It was in some ways kind of inexplicable. We always worked hard.
"Even the Notre Dame game we played hard. For me, the whole thing was epitomized in the third quarter. We were down 6-4 at halftime against Notre Dame. We came out in the third quarter, and we played great. We're all over them, and we only get two goals! We should have been up two or three going into the fourth quarter there. We're a team, we're a program, that's sort of built to score, and it never quite happened for us."
Heading into the season, UVa's major concerns were probably faceoffs and play in the goal, where Adam Ghitelman had to be replaced. Neither turned out to be a weakness. Led by senior Ryan Benincasa, the Wahoos won 54.1 percent of their draws in 2012. At goalie, senior Rob Fortunato exceeded virtually all expectations in his first year as a starter.
Moreover, Starsia said, most of his seniors had their finest seasons as Cavaliers, and overall the team enjoyed good health.
In contrast to 2011, when injuries and suspensions forced the coaching staff to make radical changes on offense and defense late in the season, "this year we were closer to having all our ducks in a row and being ready to go," Starsia said. "There were a whole bunch of things where the stars lined up correctly for us, and we just weren't able to make it happen."

So what's next for Starsia's program? Conventional wisdom says 2013 will be a rebuilding year for the 'Hoos. Then again, conventional wisdom held that Loyola would not contend for the NCAA title in 2012.

"We have the pieces to be good next year," Starsia said. "We're certainly going to be in transition, but a program like ours always graduates good players. You don't graduate Steele Stanwick every year, but we always graduate good players, and we have young players that are waiting their turns. And I think you've seen [what can happen] with Loyola and Maryland both. Maryland graduates 20 seniors a year ago and plays its way back to the final game."
The biggest loss, of course, is Stanwick, UVa's all-time leading scorer. But Starsia also must replace such players as Bocklet, Briggs, Fortunato, Benincasa, Clements, Lovejoy and Matt Kugler.
Like Stanwick, Briggs was named to the USILA's All-America first team last month. Lovejoy was a second-team All-American, and Bocklet and Fortunato received honorable mention.
Stanwick, Bocklet and Briggs were Virginia's top scorers this season, with 80, 44 and 36 points, respectively. The top returning scorer in 2013 will be Matt White, who totaled 31 points this season while splitting time at middie and attack.
Other Cavaliers with eligibility remaining include LaPierre, a second-team All-American this season, Emery, McWilliams, Harry Prevas, Bobby Hill, Pat Harbeson, Owen Van Arsdale and Mark Cockerton. Moreover, Starsia expects to again have the services of defensive middie Blake Riley and attackman Nick O'Reilly, who played key roles in the 2011 championship run.
Riley missed this season with an injury, and O'Reilly was suspended for violating team rules.
"He actually had a great spring," Starsia said of O'Reilly, who didn't practice with the team this year. "He did a great job in school, and he really took care of the things he needed to take care of."
Because UVa returned so many veterans, Tucker and faceoff specialist Mick Parks were the only freshmen who played major roles this season. But it's a talented class, said Starsia, who expects to receive contributions from such members as Tanner Ottenbreit, Greg Danseglio, Greg Coholan, Tyler German, Taylor Michel and Carl Walrath in 2013.
Coholan will be a redshirt freshman next season. The others will be sophomores. Ottenbreit is likely to be the No. 1 long-stick midfielder, and Danseglio may replace Lovejoy on defense. Coholan will challenge for a spot on the first or second midfield.
Of the recruits who enrolled at UVa last year, Walrath, a 6-0, 195-pound attackman from the Philadelphia area, was the most highly rated. But he played in only four games this season -- in part because the Cavaliers had more experienced players at his position, but also because Walrath needs "to be more consistent in practice," Starsia said.
"He has flashes of greatness, but his attention to detail goes up and down. He could be somebody that kind of takes you to the next level, but he's going to have to demonstrate that he can do that on a daily basis."
The leading candidates to replace Fortunato at goalie figure to be Austin Geisler, a graduate of nearby St. Anne's-Belfield School, and incoming freshman Dan Marino, a heralded recruit from Long Island, N.Y.
"I think we're going to be good in the goal," Starsia said.
UVa's Hall of Fame coach also believes his team will be strong in the midfield, especially with the addition of incoming freshman Will McNamara.
"We're going to be athletic in the middle of the field," Starsia said.
What the attack will look like in 2013 is difficult to say. Will White be a full-time attackman as a senior? Will Cockerton, who moved from attack to middie late in the 2011 season, return to his natural position? Is incoming freshman James Pannell, whose brother, Rob, stars for Cornell, as good as recruiting analysts say? Will Zach Wood, another newcomer, carve out a role for himself in the offense? Can Van Arsdale, who totaled only seven points in his final 11 games this season, be more productive?
Those are among the questions for which Starsia and associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale will try to find answers during fall ball.
"We've got some interesting pieces there," Starsia said.
Cockerton, a surprise standout at the Final Four in 2011, struggled as a sophomore. He finished as the Cavaliers' sixth-leading scorer this year, with 21 points, but only three came in the final eight games.
"It just never happened for him," Starsia said. "He knew that it was not happening for him, and he was trying. He just couldn't get the ball to go in. It was very frustrating for him and for us ultimately. But we need for him to get on track.
"I feel like even now saying to Marc, 'We've got to get that kid going. We have to have that kid.' "
Parks is the only returning player who took more than 10 draws this season, but Tucker, German and Harbeson also may be options on faceoffs next year, Starsia said.
Six of the recruits who signed with UVa in November will play June 30 in the Under Armour All-America Classic at Towson, Md. -- Marino, Wood, McNamara, Pannell, defenseman Tanner Scales and middie Matt Florence.
"It's a good class," Starsia said, and at least one of its members will be expected to contribute immediately.
"We need Pannell to be good," Starsia said. "If that happens, then we've got a chance to be pretty good."
The class' most intriguing prospect may be the 6-3, 200-pound Wood, the all-time leading scorer at the high school level in Illinois, a developing region in the sport.
"He's a big, left-handed kid that can shoot," Starsia said. "If we had that player this year, that might have been enough."

Starsia Reflects on 2012, Looks Ahead to '13 ~ #UVa #Lacrosse #DomStarsia #InDomWeTrust

Starsia Reflects on 2012, Looks Ahead to '13

Courtesy: VirginiaSports.com         Release: 06/05/2012
Send this article to a friendPrintRSS
Dom Starsia
View largerCourtesy: VirginiaSports.com

Dom Starsia
By Jeff White
jwhite@virginia.edu

CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Had Dom Starsia been told in January that Loyola would be crowned NCAA champion in men's lacrosse on Memorial Day, his response would have been predictable.
"I would have told you that I'm really surprised to hear that," Starsia, UVa's longtime coach, said last week.
Loyola, after all, was unranked in the USILA coaches' preseason poll. But the Greyhounds lost only once during the regular season and earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. In the title game, Loyola whipped unseeded Maryland 9-3 at Foxborough, Mass.
In 2011, as the No. 7 seed, UVa won its fourth NCAA title under Starsia and fifth overall. Virginia entered this year's NCAAs as the No. 5 seed and lost to Notre Dame in the quarterfinals.
This year's Final Four was the first since 1975 that did not include UVa, Syracuse or Johns Hopkins.
Loyola's run "sort of epitomized what this season was like," Starsia said. "It was almost a continuation of last spring. In a lot of ways we were an unlikely champion a year ago. We are Virginia and I understand that, but still, we came out of nowhere. And now we have an unseeded team playing Loyola for the national championship in 2012. We may be seeing more of this in our sport. I'm not ready to concede that parity has arrived, but there are certainly more players out there."
The 2012 recipient of the men's Tewaaraton Award, Colgate's Peter Baum, is from Portland, Ore., anything but a lacrosse hotbed.
"How unlikely is that?" Starsia said. "So Loyola's winning may reflect the growth of the game and the fact that there are just more players out there, and we may be seeing more of this in the future."
Starsia said be believes Loyola's triumph is "very good for the sport. Absolutely. I'd have preferred that the University of Virginia won the national championship, but I could see past that, and this is definitely good for the game. It's not just the big boys that have to do it all the time."
In 2011, Denver reached the Final Four. The University of Michigan has added men's lacrosse. And now the winner of the sport's most prestigious award, the Tewaaraton, is from the Pacific Northwest.
"So these little seeds are kind of sprouting up, and they're sprouting up more often now," Starsia said. "I think it speaks very directly to the growth of the game and the potential of the game to continue to grow."
To Starsia, the "most incredible thing about the playoffs was that there was no predictability in terms of what was going to happen in the next game. Nothing that happened previously was going to tell you what was likely to happen next."
Duke crushed Colgate in the NCAA quarterfinals, then struggled in a one-sided loss to Maryland. The Terrapins dominated Duke and then sputtered against Loyola, which had nearly been upset by Denver in the quarterfinals. In 2011, Starsia noted, UVa came perilously close to losing to Bucknell in the first round, then blew out Cornell a week later.
"You just need to win the game that's in front of you somehow," Starsia said.

His 20th season as UVa's coach included wins over Syracuse, Cornell, Maryland, North Carolina and Princeton. The Cavaliers finished 12-4. Still, more was expected of a team that included attackmen Steele Stanwick and Chris Bocklet, midfielders Colin Briggs and Rob Emery, long-stick middie Chris Clements, defensive middie Chris LaPierre, and defensemen Matt Lovejoy and Scott McWilliams.

"It was an unusual season for us," Starsia said. "As unlikely it was that we won in 2011, I feel that it's almost as unlikely that we didn't win in 2012. But the reason that sports fascinates us all is that you just can't guarantee results."
Starsia's teams have been known for their high-powered offenses. The 2012 Cavaliers, though, scored more than nine goals only twice in their last five games: in a 10-8 win over Penn in the regular-season finale and in the 12-10 loss to Notre Dame in the NCAA tourney.
"For whatever reason, we never were able to kind of gather any offensive momentum throughout the season," Starsia said. "We never were able to sort of meet our own expectations for who we were offensively, and I'm not laying this on the doorstep of the offensive guys or anything. It was never for a lack of effort. We had good people. It was in some ways kind of inexplicable. We always worked hard.
"Even the Notre Dame game we played hard. For me, the whole thing was epitomized in the third quarter. We were down 6-4 at halftime against Notre Dame. We came out in the third quarter, and we played great. We're all over them, and we only get two goals! We should have been up two or three going into the fourth quarter there. We're a team, we're a program, that's sort of built to score, and it never quite happened for us."
Heading into the season, UVa's major concerns were probably faceoffs and play in the goal, where Adam Ghitelman had to be replaced. Neither turned out to be a weakness. Led by senior Ryan Benincasa, the Wahoos won 54.1 percent of their draws in 2012. At goalie, senior Rob Fortunato exceeded virtually all expectations in his first year as a starter.
Moreover, Starsia said, most of his seniors had their finest seasons as Cavaliers, and overall the team enjoyed good health.
In contrast to 2011, when injuries and suspensions forced the coaching staff to make radical changes on offense and defense late in the season, "this year we were closer to having all our ducks in a row and being ready to go," Starsia said. "There were a whole bunch of things where the stars lined up correctly for us, and we just weren't able to make it happen."

So what's next for Starsia's program? Conventional wisdom says 2013 will be a rebuilding year for the 'Hoos. Then again, conventional wisdom held that Loyola would not contend for the NCAA title in 2012.

"We have the pieces to be good next year," Starsia said. "We're certainly going to be in transition, but a program like ours always graduates good players. You don't graduate Steele Stanwick every year, but we always graduate good players, and we have young players that are waiting their turns. And I think you've seen [what can happen] with Loyola and Maryland both. Maryland graduates 20 seniors a year ago and plays its way back to the final game."
The biggest loss, of course, is Stanwick, UVa's all-time leading scorer. But Starsia also must replace such players as Bocklet, Briggs, Fortunato, Benincasa, Clements, Lovejoy and Matt Kugler.
Like Stanwick, Briggs was named to the USILA's All-America first team last month. Lovejoy was a second-team All-American, and Bocklet and Fortunato received honorable mention.
Stanwick, Bocklet and Briggs were Virginia's top scorers this season, with 80, 44 and 36 points, respectively. The top returning scorer in 2013 will be Matt White, who totaled 31 points this season while splitting time at middie and attack.
Other Cavaliers with eligibility remaining include LaPierre, a second-team All-American this season, Emery, McWilliams, Harry Prevas, Bobby Hill, Pat Harbeson, Owen Van Arsdale and Mark Cockerton. Moreover, Starsia expects to again have the services of defensive middie Blake Riley and attackman Nick O'Reilly, who played key roles in the 2011 championship run.
Riley missed this season with an injury, and O'Reilly was suspended for violating team rules.
"He actually had a great spring," Starsia said of O'Reilly, who didn't practice with the team this year. "He did a great job in school, and he really took care of the things he needed to take care of."
Because UVa returned so many veterans, Tucker and faceoff specialist Mick Parks were the only freshmen who played major roles this season. But it's a talented class, said Starsia, who expects to receive contributions from such members as Tanner Ottenbreit, Greg Danseglio, Greg Coholan, Tyler German, Taylor Michel and Carl Walrath in 2013.
Coholan will be a redshirt freshman next season. The others will be sophomores. Ottenbreit is likely to be the No. 1 long-stick midfielder, and Danseglio may replace Lovejoy on defense. Coholan will challenge for a spot on the first or second midfield.
Of the recruits who enrolled at UVa last year, Walrath, a 6-0, 195-pound attackman from the Philadelphia area, was the most highly rated. But he played in only four games this season -- in part because the Cavaliers had more experienced players at his position, but also because Walrath needs "to be more consistent in practice," Starsia said.
"He has flashes of greatness, but his attention to detail goes up and down. He could be somebody that kind of takes you to the next level, but he's going to have to demonstrate that he can do that on a daily basis."
The leading candidates to replace Fortunato at goalie figure to be Austin Geisler, a graduate of nearby St. Anne's-Belfield School, and incoming freshman Dan Marino, a heralded recruit from Long Island, N.Y.
"I think we're going to be good in the goal," Starsia said.
UVa's Hall of Fame coach also believes his team will be strong in the midfield, especially with the addition of incoming freshman Will McNamara.
"We're going to be athletic in the middle of the field," Starsia said.
What the attack will look like in 2013 is difficult to say. Will White be a full-time attackman as a senior? Will Cockerton, who moved from attack to middie late in the 2011 season, return to his natural position? Is incoming freshman James Pannell, whose brother, Rob, stars for Cornell, as good as recruiting analysts say? Will Zach Wood, another newcomer, carve out a role for himself in the offense? Can Van Arsdale, who totaled only seven points in his final 11 games this season, be more productive?
Those are among the questions for which Starsia and associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale will try to find answers during fall ball.
"We've got some interesting pieces there," Starsia said.
Cockerton, a surprise standout at the Final Four in 2011, struggled as a sophomore. He finished as the Cavaliers' sixth-leading scorer this year, with 21 points, but only three came in the final eight games.
"It just never happened for him," Starsia said. "He knew that it was not happening for him, and he was trying. He just couldn't get the ball to go in. It was very frustrating for him and for us ultimately. But we need for him to get on track.
"I feel like even now saying to Marc, 'We've got to get that kid going. We have to have that kid.' "
Parks is the only returning player who took more than 10 draws this season, but Tucker, German and Harbeson also may be options on faceoffs next year, Starsia said.
Six of the recruits who signed with UVa in November will play June 30 in the Under Armour All-America Classic at Towson, Md. -- Marino, Wood, McNamara, Pannell, defenseman Tanner Scales and middie Matt Florence.
"It's a good class," Starsia said, and at least one of its members will be expected to contribute immediately.
"We need Pannell to be good," Starsia said. "If that happens, then we've got a chance to be pretty good."
The class' most intriguing prospect may be the 6-3, 200-pound Wood, the all-time leading scorer at the high school level in Illinois, a developing region in the sport.
"He's a big, left-handed kid that can shoot," Starsia said. "If we had that player this year, that might have been enough."