CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The Virginia men's lacrosse team admits last year's NCAA Tournament experience was a "happy to be there" moment for the team. This year, things have been different.
"I think this team, unlike last year, understands that," head coach Lars Tiffany said at practice Wednesday. "Emotionally, going into each game, take it for what its worth, but we're not just happy to be here any more."
Tiffany and the Virginia coaching staff broke the season into three sections before the season began. Phase one was win the ACC regular season championship. Phase two was win the ACC Tournament. Now that those two goals have been accomplished, its on to phase three -- win the national championship.
"OK, yeah, we won phase one," said senior defenseman Logan Greco. "Congratulations. But now there's phase two and our hunger gets even higher and higher and higher. Now that we won phase two, our hunger gets higher and higher and higher and that allows us to be more focused on the current game."
The Cavaliers renew their rivalry with Maryland on Saturday in the NCAA quarterfinals. Its the first meeting between the storied programs in five years.
Before the team makes the trip to Hempstead, NY for that game, Ian Laviano stressed there is a newfound confidence in the team that was not there his first season. One year ago, the Cavaliers were coming off a first-round loss to Loyola. Now, the team is heading into the quarterfinals a favorite to make it to Philadelphia and the Final Four.
"Its come to the point where we believe that we can win," Laviano said. "We have that swagger that people want to fear us and we're not just happy to be here. We want more than that."