Virginia men's lacrosse is once again the top-ranked team in the country, thanks to North Carolina's upset of Johns Hopkins last weekend.
Now the Tar Heels can make it back-to-back wins over the No. 1 team in the country when UVa visits Chapel Hill this Saturday.
Sunday night's 13-9 win over Johns Hopkins at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., ended a streak of 11 straight UNC losses against top-ranked opponents.
"I thought they looked phenomenal," Virginia sophomore midfielder Rob Emery said Thursday. "I think they were flying all over the field, and they just looked comfortable out there. And that's a big part of winning games, being comfortable with what you're doing."
"It was hard not to watch that game and be very, very impressed with the Tar Heels," agreed Virginia coach Dom Starsia. "And so we really seem to have gotten the guys' attention this week in practice, and I think we're going to go down to Chapel Hill and give it a good go."
Virginia had spent the first month of the season on top of both major lacrosse polls, until an 11-10 overtime loss at home to Johns Hopkins on March 24. The Cavaliers bounced back last Saturday at Maryland, by beating the Terrapins 12-8 in their ACC opener.
Starsia's team improved to 9-1 with the win.
"We're going to keep trying to play that perfect, complete game," Starsia said, reiterating his common theme throughout the season. "But in the meantime we're going to try to enjoy all these little events along the way. And if you can beat an ACC team on the road, you've got to consider that that's a pretty good game."
Virginia players admit their coach's ongoing search for a "complete game" from his team has motivated them.
"I think we're very close (to playing a complete game)," said sophomore defenseman Scott McWillams. "We've been playing better each week, I think, and we're going to keep making improvement each week and learning from our mistakes."
"I think it's only good that we haven't reached it yet," said Emery. "Just because, coming into the last stretch of the season here, if you haven't peaked you know that it's only up from here. So I'm definitely excited to see where this team can go."