Stiff tests await Wahoos in fall scrimmages

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Although Virginia won't officially begin defense of the school's latest NCAA title in men's lacrosse for a few months, the Wahoos will have their hands full the next few weekends.

On Sunday, the Cavaliers will face Penn State -- a Final Four team last spring that UVA head coach Lars Tiffany called "arguably the best team all regular season" -- at the 'Bob Kemp Classic' at Georgetown Prep in Washington, DC. The following weekend, the Wahoos will face the national teams from both the United States and Canada at the annual Team USA Fall Classic in Maryland.

"Penn State was one of the best teams last year, and USA and Team Canada are obviously the best players in the world. So it'll be awesome, and kind of a privilege to play against them," said UVA senior attackman Michael Kraus. "We get after each other in practice, but it's awesome to go against another team, and really take it out on them."

Tiffany admits he wasn't big on fall scrimmages when he first took over the UVA program. The Cavaliers didn't play any his first few seasons at the school; neither did his last few teams at Brown before leaving for Charlottesville.

But the Wahoos' fourth-year head coach has come around on the value of the scrimmages as early tests for team chemistry -- and ways to identify where his team needs more work before the games start to count.

"I do see a different edge in the preparation for the men, when there's something coming up a couple weeks from now or a month from now. Especially these sort of monstrous opponents like Penn State, and Team USA and Team Canada," Tiffany said. "So it puts a little bit more edge in the way we train."