No. 2 Virginia men's lacrosse prepares for No. 1 Syracuse
Once basketball season and the NCAA tournament concludes, Cavaliers Journal will delve into men's lacrosse, baseball and spring football. But Sunday's lacrosse game between No. 2 Virginia and No. 1 Syracuse cannot be ignored, considering it's likely to be the top game of college lacrosse's regular season and just might be a precursor a rematch in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend.
"This is the fifth time I played against Syracuse, and it's been an unbelievable rivalry throughout my career," senior defenseman Ken Clausen said. "It doesn't get much better than one versus two, and it's the first time we've had them in Charlottesville [in Clausen's career], so I'm very excited to have them down here and for the contest."
The snow is expected to be cleared from Klockner Stadium and weather forecasts have Charlottesville reaching 58 degrees on Sunday, so it has the makings of a good afternoon for lacrosse. Both Syracuse and Virginia are traditionally high-scoring teams and because it's early in the season and Virginia Coach Dom Starsia and Syracuse Coach John Desko are learning their personnel, the early-season matchup is usually more of a players' game.
Starsia tells his players that there are no big games, which is his way of ensuring the team is ready for anyone -- whether it's Stony Brook or Syracuse. But there's no denying that "Syracuse Week" takes on a different tone.
Because both teams should be among the nation's elite at the end of the season, the game does not carry serious postseason implications. Instead, it's the rivalry that will make the matchup exciting. Since 1994, the teams have played each other 22 times. Each team has won 11 games, while Virginia has scored 305 goals to Syracuse's 304 goals.
"It's going to be our first big test, so to say, for the season," Clausen said. "It's for the overall No. 1 ranking in the country -- not to say that's a huge focus of ours -- but definitely something in the back of our minds."
March 5, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
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