Virginia middie, Chris LaPierre, isn't a standout because of his stats, but rather for the work he does between the lines.
UVa Head Coach Dom Starsia said, "He's one of my favorite guys, and there's just an element of toughness in the middle of the field we didn't quite have last year. His presence even in practice is quite remarkable."
There was a lull in the UVa's midfield last season as LaPierre was forced to lead from the sideline in 2013 due to a knee injury.
LaPierre said, "Especially in those one goal losses where a play here or a play there would've made a big difference so it was definitely frustrating. I think we definitely use it as motivation moving forward this year."
LaPierre has 209 groundballs to his name and that's a number that will rise immediately. He is one of the best short stick faceoff wings in the country and a staple for Virginia in transition.
"He's a special kind of athlete," said Starsia. "The type of guy who thrives in this level of competition. I think having him back elevates us as a team overall."
Without LaPierre, the Cavaliers didn't make it to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004. The fifth year seniors, including LaPierre and the fourth years are the only members of the team who've won a national title. Coach Dom Starsia pointed out why coming back for a fifth year and a shot at another ring isn't as easy as it seems.
Starsia explained, "barely and of these guys are on full scholarships. So when LaPierre has to come back for a fifth year, he's gotta figure out a way to pay for it. These guys didn't come back here to just spin their wheels, they came back here because they experienced something special and they want to get that done again."
LaPierre said, "You come to Virginia and you sort of expect to win, expect to win championships and you win one and you kind of take a year off and then two years go by and you don't make the playoffs. Everyone realizes we've gotta get back to our winning ways and I think that we'll do that this year."
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