Trying Season Ends Early for Men's Lacrosse
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The calendar still shows April, and yet the season is over for the UVa men's lacrosse team. Forgive Dom Starsia and his players if they feel out of sorts. For only the second time in Starsia's 21 seasons as their head coach, the Cavaliers will be spectators when the NCAA tournament begins in May.
"It's gonna be strange to wake up tomorrow and not be getting ready for practice," Starsia said Sunday afternoon at Kenan Stadium, where host North Carolina defeated Virginia 16-13 in the ACC championship game.
"It's gonna sting a little bit," said junior defenseman Scott McWilliams, who helped the Cavaliers win the NCAA title in 2011. "But mainly I feel bad that we couldn't get this done for the seniors, because there was never a lack of effort this season."
A win over second-seeded UNC would have given the fourth-seeded Cavaliers the .500-or-better record required for consideration for the NCAAs, and they battled from start to finish Sunday. But Virginia (7-8), which averaged 13.5 goals in its final four games this season, could not match the firepower of the Tar Heels (12-3), who are ranked No. 1 in the USILA coaches' poll. And so for the first time since 2004 the Wahoos will sit out the NCAA tourney.
"It's always frustrating when a season ends and you don't win," senior midfielder Matt White said after his final game for UVa. "I think we left a lot of good lacrosse out there, and it's a bummer."
On an afternoon when the `Hoos got historic performances from White (career-high seven goals) and junior attackman Nick O'Reilly (career-high seven assists), they still trailed for the final 34 minutes, 7 seconds Sunday.
"At the end of the day, we just weren't quite good enough, frankly," said Starsia, who has won four NCAA titles at Virginia. "But we worked hard trying to be, and it just didn't happen for us today."
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