It’s never easy on the top. The Men’s Lacrosse team has taken everyone’s best shot this season. And it caught up to them. After winning 3 one goal games this year, Johns Hopkins used a favorable call in overtime to beat this Hoos this past weekend 11-10 in the battle of 1 vs. 2. Now the Hoos sit in 2nd place and will have to navigate the ACC slate to stay on the opposite side of the Jays in the NCAA tournament.
The next 4 (hopefully 5) games will all be against ACC foes, but Virginia will have to travel to the next two against Maryland and North Carolina, before coming home to Duke and the ACC Tourney. Now while road ACC games have been difficult for the Hoos in years past, the conference is not as daunting as it has been in recent years. Maryland is currently ranked 9th and have losses to unranked UMBC and UNC so far this season. UNC sits in 12th and have lost to rival Duke, upcoming UVa foe Penn, and surprising Lehigh. Duke, the highest ranked at 8th, have lost to Maryland and Notre Dame. Simple arithmetic shows that all the other ACC teams are 1-1 and have losses outside the conference as well. So while the Cavs have not started play yet, their is not a clear cut favorite from the rest of the pool and Virginia will have a good shot at the #1 seed when the tournament come to Charlottesville.
What can we, and the Cavaliers, look forward too? After last season, who knows? We have won National Championships as favorites (’06), near favorites (’03), and complete underdogs (’11). Interestingly enough, the 2003 matchup was #2 Hoos vs. #1 JHU. Their is little doubt that Virginia will not make the NCAA field, barring a total 0-4 collapse. And even then, the Hoos have faced the toughest team in the NCAA this year and came up one call and one goal short, in overtime no less.
Virginia will regroup this week and head up 29 to face UMD. It is never a great place to play, and the Cavs last lost in College Park in ’08 when UVa was #1. But if Virginia can somehow shake the pesky Terps this weekend, the road gets better. Here’s to the next few weeks of ACC play! Wahoowa.