There are 42 players listed on the roster for the Virginia men's lacrosse team. Only two of them have beaten Duke in a UVa uniform.
"Yeah, it definitely lights a fire. The only people who have beaten Duke are the fifth-year seniors," senior midfielder Bobby Hill said Thursday. "It's something that we've been talking about since we lost to them last year. I just want that one more chance to play Duke. And knowing that this could be our last chance to really beat these guys has definitely been something to think about all week."
That potential last chance for Hill and his fellow seniors comes Friday night at Klöckner Stadium, when the Cavaliers conclude their ACC regular season schedule against the Blue Devils.
Dom Starsia's team will be trying to snap a five-game losing streak against Duke -- UVa's last win in the series came in the 2010 ACC Tournament -- and beat the Blue Devils in Charlottesville for the first time since 2004.
"They've been as talented as anybody in the country. They also have been very athletic. They come after us that way, and not a lot of teams will do that," Starsia said Thursday. "And then it's just fallen that way."
"People have asked me about it, and I hope to be here long enough that we'll kind of get it turned around for everybody and get it headed in the other direction," he added. "And I don't think there's any reason why it can't happen."
Starsia's team will take the field on Friday tied with Syracuse for fifth place in the ACC, at 1-3 in the league. The Blue Devils -- currently ranked No. 2 in the country in both major lacrosse polls -- are tied for first place with Maryland, at 3-1.
"They're just relentless," said Hill. "They come out, they attack you all over the field. They don't let you have your space. They're big, they're athletic. But we've just got to come, turn that around, and attack them just as hard as they attack us."
The setup for this year's ACC Tournament will feature the top four teams competing in the semifinals, while the bottom two will meet in a consolation game. To have any chance at avoiding that consolation game, the Cavaliers would need to beat Duke on Friday -- and get some help.
"I mean, we're definitely looking for a win," said junior midfielder Ryan Tucker. "Tough last couple of games, against some really good teams. But it would just be that much better if we just beat Duke."
Obviously we haven't had much success the last couple of years. But it's something we've definitely been gunning for. And it's something that every Virginia athlete, no matter what sport, wants to achieve."