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Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Virginia

We’re breaking down each and every NCAA D1 team one by one to get prepped for the rapidly approaching season. Welcome back to the Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Previews! We move another spot down the list and the Virginia Cavaliers, located in Charlottesville, VA, are up for Preview!

Virginia went 12-4 last year, and was lead by a strong class of Seniors, many of whom starred on the offensive end of the field. Big wins over Drexel, Syracuse, Cornell, Maryland, UNC, and Princeton were offset to a certain degree by losses to Hopkins, Duke, UNC, and Notre Dame, but overall, the Cavs were a contender in 2012, as only one of theses losses came by more than 2 goals, and all were to high quality teams.

In 2013, a slightly new look UVA plays another tough schedule, with some earlier games that could be considered “easier” in Drexel, VMI, Stony Brook, and Mount St. Mary’s. Then UVA takes on Cuse, Vermont, Cornell, Ohio State, Hopkins, Maryland, UNC, Duke, and Bellarmine. And THEN they head to the ACC tourney. It’s a tough road, but 7 or 8 of those games are definitely winnable.

Let’s take a look at Virginia’s offense first, as the lost quite a bit there. If you scored over 35 points for UVA last year, you graduated. Stanwick, Bocklet, and Briggs are all gone. But if you scored more than 5 points (and less than 35), you return. So the UVA offense should really be just fine, especially later in the year. Matt White, Rob Emery, Mark Cockcerton, Owen Van Arsdale, Ryan Tucker, Chris LaPierre, and Matt Cockerton all return. Matt Kulger is gone, but James Pannell takes on #32 for Kugler, and that’s a good trade, possibly even up!

UVA is a system team on offense, so I’m really not that worried about their graduation losses. It might takes some guys a little time to adjust, but the focus at Virginia seems to be consistently doing the fundamental things correctly, and that is a great recipe for sustained success, even as players come and go. The talent is there, the system is there, and the athletes are there. Viriginia will still score goals in 2013. Oh yeah, and Charlie Streep, the former Bucknell star is on the Cavs’ roster as well. That’s a huge pick up.

Rob Fortunato is gone in goal, but Virginia has some potential waiting in the wings, and while none of their four goalies has a ton of D1 experience, I think they’ll be solid between the pipes, even if they start a freshman. Harry Prevas and Scott McWilliams return on D, and they are joined by Greg Danseglio. That right there is a pretty good group! Add in LaPierre playing D-mid and you’ve got a solid foundation. I’m interested to see who will get the most time at LSM this year for the Cavs.

Virginia has good special teams work, and they always seem to put together solid man up and man down units. Face offs should once again play to UVA’s favor and Mick Parks should be able to step in to Ryan Benincasa’s shoes nicely. LaPierre could always see time there as well when Parks struggles, and that can always lead to a quick goal, or dangerous possessions.

Virginia graduated a great class last year. They had studs in the midfield, on attack, and on D/in Goal. Replacing those guys on other teams could be a steeper uphill battle, but Virginia can draw in excellent players, and Dom Starsia always seems to find a way to make the new pieces work. I don’t see UVA dropping off at all in 2013, at least not when it counts.

Click HERE to see Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview posts for Air Force, Albany,Army, Bellarmine, Binghamton, Brown, Bryant, Bucknell, Canisius, Colgate, Cornell, Dartmouth, Denver, Detroit, Drexel, Duke, Fairfield, Hartford, Harvard, High Point, Hobart, Hofstra, Holy Cross, Jacksonville, Johns Hopkins, Lafayette, Lehigh, Loyola, Manhattan, Marist, Marquette, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mercer, Michigan, Mount St. Mary’s, Navy, UNC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, UPenn, Penn State, Princeton, Providence, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Rutgers, Sacred Heart, St. Joseph’s, Siena, Stony Brook, Syracuse, Towson, UMBC, Vermont, and Villanova!