When Virginia faces off with No. 6 North Carolina Saturday at Klöckner Stadium, the Cavaliers may be playing for their postseason lives.
Virginia currently sits at 5-5 and needs to be better than .500 for the chance of making the NCAA Tournament. The Wahoos have only missed the Tournament once under Coach Dom Starsia, back in 2004.
Four of the Cavaliers five losses this season have been by two goals or less.
"We're trying to take it one game at a time and we realize that we're close. A little mistake here, a little mistake there. Those will add up and at the end of the game you look at the scoreboard and those are the difference," junior midfielder Rob Emery said.
"Yeah you look back and you see those one-goal losses and you really wish that we could have changed something back then because we're in such a tight spot right now," senior defenseman Harry Prevas added. "Maybe if we had one or two of those wins back then we'd be a little more relaxed."
Starsia has tried to keep his team thinking positively, but even the veteran coach realizes the urgency.
"Right now, I'd like to see us play well on Saturday," says Starsia. "If we can break through and get a win, I do think confidence is a very critical thing with college-aged kids. Even a program of our caliber, with all the success we've had, when you're not doing what you want to do, it takes a hit."
Still, the players believe all it takes is one bounce to go the Wahoos way and they could be a dangerous team down the stretch.
"We're watching some of the film and seeing we're doing things right and it can be a little demoralizing but there's promise there," Prevas said. "As soon as we get some stuff figured out and doing everything right, we're going to be a pretty scary team."
"I think we could surprise some people here at the end of the season and I think that prospect is exciting," Emery added.
"To get a 'W' would mean a great deal, and probably carry us over into these next couple of games. You do feel if we could just get one of these, that we might get on a roll, and really get going," Starsia concluded.