Virginia coach Julie Myers is pretty confident about her lacrosse team's chances of earning an at-large NCAA bid this weekend.
"I mean, I hate to jinx it. But I think we're a 9 1/2, 10," Myers said Thursday after practice, when asked to gauge her confidence on a scale of 1-10.
"Every RPI shows us in that top 15, pretty comfortably," she explained. "Beating Duke ended up being the best thing for us."
The Cavaliers guaranteed themselves a non-losing record -- a prerequisite to be eligible for NCAA consideration -- by upsetting Duke in the first round of the ACC tournament last Thursday. Virginia finished the regular season 9-9 after losing to Maryland in Friday's conference semifinals.
Despite that record, Virginia is No. 13 in the latest national RPI rankings released earlier this week by the NCAA. The Cavaliers are also No. 13 in the latest coaches' poll, and No. 20 in this week's media poll.
The fact that the NCAA has expanded the field for this year's tournament to 26 teams also works in Virginia's favor. And Myers says the Cavaliers have been practicing this week like a team that hasn't played its final game this season.
"I think the girls have been really focused. So I think there's no doubt in anyone's mind that we're going into this postseason," she said. "Obviously we'll all breathe easier on Sunday, but I don't think we're letting doubt creep into our minds right now as we're preparing."
"I think we've done a good job all season of just really having a high intensity at all of our practices," agreed senior Megan Dunleavy. "We're definitely bumping it up a level just because we're going into postseason, running and things like that. But I think that we've done a good job overall."
Virginia won't know its NCAA fate until Sunday night's selection show, which begins at 9 p.m. So the Cavaliers have had that on their minds, in addition to dealing with final exams.
"Definitely the wait is nerve-wracking," said senior Caroline McTiernan. "We might be going in the lowest we ever have been. But hopefully it helps us, and we get a good seed."
"We were just talking about how we usually play an ACC team in the first round, either Carolina or Duke first round," said Dunleavy. "So it's going to be interesting to play someone else that we haven't played. So that will be fun."
"We have more time, now that classes are over. So we're really putting our best foot forward," McTiernan said. "Trying to be confident, determined, and we're looking for that win. So we'll do anything we can do to get it."
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