After a year of disappointment, including missing the NCAA Tournament, Virginia men's lacrosse feels its finally back where it belongs.
The Cavaliers are up to the No. 2 spot in both the coaches and media poll this week after a 6-0 start to the season.
"We had some close games early and I think we've grown from that," junior defenseman Greg Danseglio said before Thursday's practice. "I think we played our best game last week ( a 17-12 win over Syracuse) and we're hoping to build off that."
"We understand there's a long way to go and you want to be playing your best lacrosse at the very end so it's important we not get too far ahead of ourselves and just take this in small pieces," head coach Dom Starsia added.
The Cavs will be looking for their fifth 7-0 start in the last seven seasons when they travel to No. 15 Cornell Saturday.
"(Cornell is) a team with a lot of experience and pride," Starsia said. "We're going to have to go up and make things happen for ourselves because they're certainly not going to give us anything."
James Pannell is very familiar with the Big Red. The sophomore attacker, one of the leading scorers in the country, is the younger brother of former Cornell great and Tewaaraton Award winner Rob Pannell.
"I know a lot of those guys, been around that program for a while," James Pannell said. "Should be an exciting game going up there."
Although the 'Hoos are No. 2 in the polls, Starsia and his team say they're not letting the hype distract them.
"I would be surprised if the players told you they dwell too much on the fact we moved up the rankings," Starsia said. "Certainly if we continue to win that will be the case. I'd like to think certainly we're closer to where we belong right now and it will be our job to continue to stay there and get better as we move to the more meaningful part of the season."
"I don't think we really worry about that too much," Danseglio added. "We're not even in the middle of March. Teams are changing, teams are really developing into who they want to be."