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Virginia midfielder Ryan Tucker (3), John Hopkins midfielder Marshall Burkhart
Strengths: Virginia, the 2011 NCAA champion, is an excellent ground-ball team and has the second-best offense in the nation, scoring on 38.3 percent of offensive possessions. The Cavaliers have star power with Steele Stanwick (Loyola High) and weapons including Chris Bocklet, Colin Briggs, Matt White, Rob Emery and Ryan Tucker (Gilman), who have superb stickwork, make smart decisions and shoot a very high percentage (34 percent).
Opponents have little margin for error on defense. Virginia wears you down and rarely settles for bad shots. The Cavs are unselfish and take care of the ball, with the second-lowest turnover percentage in the nation behind Hopkins.
Meanwhile, goalie Rob Fortunato (.599 save percentage), a preseason question mark, has become a strength. The Cavs effectively mix a 3-3 zone and man-to-man defensive packages with Matt Lovejoy, Chris Clements (St. Paul's), Harry Prevas (Gilman) and Scott McWilliams. They are comfortable and effective in both schemes. Coach Dom Starsia and head assistant Marc Van Arsdale have been pushing all the right buttons.
March 24, 2012