Virginia’s young defense growing up fast
Goalie Matt Barrett impressing in the cage as No. 7 Cavaliers prepare for No. 8 Cornell
Coach Dom Starsia is in the midst of his 33rd season as a Division I lacrosse coach, and his 23rd at Virginia. So when the NCAA all-time winningest coach states he has never seen the turnover the Cavalier defense experienced going into this season, he is not kidding.
Through a combination of graduations, transfers and injuries, the Virginia men’s lacrosse team lost virtually every regular from 2014’s defense. The lone holdover is sophomore goalie Matt Barrett, who had his share of struggles a year ago.
But Virginia had no choice but to embrace the next-man-up mentality. The Cavaliers play one of the nation’s most difficult schedules year-in and year-out, which this year included an opener against a ranked Loyola squad in Baltimore, Maryland.
Starsia plugged in two true freshmen and a senior walk-on into his close-defense, and trusted a hoard of athletic, but mightily inexperienced, defensive midfielders.
But through four games, while Virginia still certainly has room to improve, the results have been quite impressive.
“I have to say we’re probably a little bit ahead of where I thought we would be right now,” Starsia said.
And Saturday, No. 7 Virginia (3-1, 0-1 ACC) will get the chance to showcase its young defense to the home Klöckner crowd for just the second time this season when it hosts No. 8 Cornell (3-1).