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Looking Ahead

Depth at midfield a ticket to success

It’s still early—the Cavaliers’ first game was Feb. 17—but the 2008 season is shaping up a lot like 2007.

Duke was the one mountain Virginia couldn’t climb last year, falling to the Blue Devils in the regular season and in the ACC tournament final. This year, Duke will be formidable again.

Duke placed six players on the all-ACC preseason first team, including returning Tewaaraton Award winner Matt Danowski. But Virginia is back with plenty of talent as well. Fourth-year attackman Ben Rubeor was joined by second-year defenseman Ken Clausen and fourth-year defensive midfielder Will Barrow on the all-ACC team, which didn’t have room for third-year attackman Danny Glading, a third-team All-American in 2007.

UVA will look to improve on its 12-4 record from 2007. To do that, says Barrow, the Cavaliers need to be more consistent in the midfield.

“Our midfield this year is a lot deeper than it was last year. Toward the end of the season, a lot of teams would focus on our attack and try to take Ben and Danny out of the game. Our midfield wasn’t able to produce,” Barrow says. “This year, a lot of teams are going to have trouble with our midfield, and when they focus on that it’ll open up our attack.”

The Cavs’ schedule is tough as usual, with road games at Towson, Princeton and Maryland. But they have two advantages to anticipate: The Duke game (April 12) and the ACC tournament (April 25-27) are both at Klöckner Stadium.