While watching the Virginia men's basketball team beat Duke for the ACC championship last month, Dom Starsia couldn't help but relate to the coach on the opposing bench.
"I was watching Krzyzewski in the ACC Tournament. And he died a thousand deaths on that bench, as Virginia was beating them. I remember watching his body language and stuff, you know?" Virginia's men's lacrosse coach recalled Thursday.
"We're all the same. The only thing that matters is beating Bellarmine. Let me beat Bellarmine, and anything else is possible, you know? I can live with anything else. And so, I know it's crazy, that sounds. But that's how we're built."
Starsia's team will try to snap a three-game losing streak when UVa hosts the Knights on Saturday at Klöckner Stadium. The Cavaliers have dropped five of their last seven games since a 6-0 start to the season.
"We've been waiting a while to get another win. We're definitely hungry for it," said junior Owen Van Arsdale. "You almost forget what it's like to get a win, when you go through a time like this in the season. But we experienced the same thing last year. And we know how difficult it is, playing against any team, to come out on top."
Bellarmine comes to Charlottesville at 6-4 on the season, with all four losses coming against ECAC opponents. The Knights have won their last two, but Saturday's match-up with UVa will be their first game in two weeks.
"They probably won't beat us up physically as much as we have the past few weeks," Van Arsdale said. "They are very talented on offense, and pretty good in the cage. So we'll still have our hands full with an opponent. It's just a different style of lacrosse that they play."
"We've just got to play well," said Starsia. "Like I say, if we're going to be the team that we think we can be, we've got to get to it. And we can't give Saturday away. And so playing well is an important objective for us come Saturday against a good team."
A year ago, the Cavaliers snapped a six-game losing streak by beating Bellarmine 12-7 at Klöckner. But that was just seven wins last season for UVa, which had its nine-year string of NCAA Tournament appearances come to an end.
This year, Starsia's team is 8-5 entering Saturday's game, and he's quick to point out that UVa has played the toughest schedule in the country. Following the Bellarmine game, UVa will travel to Pennsylvania for next weekend's ACC Showcase match-up with North Carolina -- then await their fate in this year's NCAA Tournament.
But Starsia says he'll worry about that another day.
"Trying to get this right has created a lot of sleepless nights. And so I'm not getting too far ahead of myself, to be perfectly honest," he said. "I do think that we're going to be playing for a while. And I still think that elusive big fish is still out there for us. Everybody's got the same goal in mind. We've just got to get it done."