PHILADELPHIA — Virginia defenseman Michael Culver remembers coach Dom Starsia asking him about midfielder and fellow New Jersey native Matt Poskay when both were in high school.
Culver gave Poskay a ringing endorsement although he had never seen him play. It turned out to be an extremely fortunate lie for the Cavaliers because Poskay scored a career-high five goals in yesterday’s 15-7 victory against Massachusetts in the NCAA title game at Lincoln Financial Field.
“I just saw some seams, took some chances and made cuts,” said Poskay, whose 41 goals this season are a record for a Virginia midfielder. “Everybody was working, and I was fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of those goals.”
Poskay’s production was especially important during the tournament because midfielder Kyle Dixon had a torn ligament in his thumb. Poskay scored 12 postseason goals to finish with 88 goals for his career, second on Virginia’s career list for a midfielder behind Pete Eldredge.
The final four, which broke all of the event’s attendance records, always serves as a celebration of the sport. Yet this year it was looked upon as more important than usual after the rape accusations that led to the indictments of three Duke lacrosse players.
“This is a group of thoughtful, respectful, hard-working young men who I think accomplished something quite memorable,” Starsia said. “And hopefully, [they] created the kind of impression here in the spring of 2006 that we all walk away from this lacrosse season with. That might be the greatest accomplishment of all. … I think you can hold this group up as a little bit of an ideal and say ‘this is what the sport is capable of’ and feel pretty good about the end of the season.”
Massachusetts defenseman Jack Reid was stunned when he was whistled for a slashing penalty on the faceoff after the Minutemen pulled to within 7-6 in the third quarter.
“I asked the refs in the second quarter if I was allowed to stick check while the faceoff was still engaged, and they said yes,” Reid said. “I went there and I hit him in the wrist and they said I hit him in the hip and they gave me a slash.”
It proved to be the start of a critical sequence. Poskay scored 25 seconds later, and Dixon zipped in a shot from open space within a minute to start a 6-0 Virginia run.