Cavalier Corner

April 2014

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on another kid that somebody who was watching the game said something to the effect of, "That was a shocker!" Through the first 11 games of the season, LaPi- erre had 30 groundballs, which was tied for fourth on the team. Admittedly, the 6-3, 210-pounder is still rounding back into shape. "I'm just trying to shake off the rust from tak- ing a year off," he said, "but with each game it's getting better." LaPierre isn't a team captain this season, but said his role on the team is pretty much the same as it has always been. "Dom says we need everyone in the huddle to be leaders," LaPierre said, "and I just try and in- spire some of the younger guys by the way I play." LaPierre, who was part of Virginia's 2011 NCAA championship team when he was a second- year, is expecting a turnaround this season. "I like our chances," he said. "We have a bunch of hungry guys and we have some experience. I think we can be dangerous this year. "Everyone realizes we have to get back to our winning ways, and I think we'll do that." Virginia opened the season by winning its first six contests prior to losses at No. 15 Cornell and No. 11 Notre Dame. The Cavaliers, however, bounced back to post victories over No. 9 Johns Hopkins (11-10) and VMI (21-3), before falling to No. 4 Maryland (9-6) to close out the month of March. Recalling his favorite memories from his four- plus years, LaPierre cited UVa's win over Duke when he was a first-year. LaPierre and teammate Blake Riley are the only two current Cavaliers to have beaten the Blue Devils. As a second-year, LaPierre was part of the Vir- ginia team that lost four of its last five regular- season games — including a nine-goal loss to Duke — but then got hot and won five straight NCAA Tournament games en route to a champi- onship. That season, LaPierre had a team-leading 92 groundballs. LaPierre said he has also enjoyed his academic life at UVa. He is currently getting his master's degree in higher education with a concentration in intercollegiate athletics, though he already has a job in sales and trading lined up with Bank of America in New York. He'll be joining former Wahoos Tim Whiteley and Max Pomper, who are employed there. LaPierre, who set the New Jersey state record with 44 touchdowns at Shawnee High School, laughed when asked if he ever thinks about what his college career would have been like if he had chosen football. Penn State recruited him as a linebacker or safety. "I often say that instead of 215 [pounds] I would have been 245 and smashing my head into walls and whatnot," said LaPierre, smiling, "but I'm glad with how my whole decision went. If I could do it all again, I would do it the exact same thing." That's not to say LaPierre doesn't miss foot- ball — he tries to make it to every Virginia home game. "It's cool," he said. "When they're coming out of the locker room and the crowd's going crazy and the smoke machines are going, I think back and do miss it, but I can't say enough times that I'm happy with the way things turned out. "I think part of that is the culture of our team and Coach [Starsia] himself. It's a real close-knit group here. It's been perfect." ◆ "There's just an element of toughness in the middle of the field that we didn't quite have last year. His presence, even in practice, is quite remarkable. He's a special kind of athlete." HEAD COACH DOM STARSIA ON LAPIERRE i18-19.Chris LaPierre.indd 3 4/2/14 9:29 AM

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