When Virginia scrimmaged Lynchburg the last two falls, one player always stood out to UVa coach Dom Starsia.
“I had always thought to myself, ‘Who the hell is that kid?’” Starsia recalled. “He jumped off the page both times.”
Now that kid has jumped right into a Virginia uniform.
Joe Lisicky, the Division III Preseason Player of the Year for Lynchburg last season, is set to suit up for UVa this coming season as a fifth-year senior.
“I’m very excited to get down there and meet everyone and get ready to start the fall season,” Lisicky said, “and get ready to compete when I get down there.”
Lisicky, who is from Chadds Ford, Pa., was accepted as a graduate student to UVa last fall and had planned on finishing his lacrosse eligibility at Lynchburg in the spring.
However, he broke his left foot and was subsequently granted a fifth year by the NCAA.
With the graduation of defender Harry Prevas, Virginia — which missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004 — can certainly use the versatile Lisicky.
“I think we were always looking to be a little more dynamic in the middle of the field and I think that plays to his strengths,” Starsia said. “So whether he’s a close defenseman or a long-pole middie or somebody that’s a face-off wing, it just seems like there’s an opportunity for him to help us in area where we need to get better.”
At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Lisicky — who was selected by the Ohio Machine in the MLL Draft in January — will be one of the bigger players on Virginia’s roster. He could form a nice one-two tandem with fellow fifth-year senior Chris LaPierre, who is also coming off a medical redshirt season.
“He walks in the door and you’re thinking, ‘Wow,’” said Starsia, when asked about Lisicky's physical stature. “We tend to think of the Division III kids as a little undersized, but that’s certainly not the case here. He’s an impressive-looking young man.”
Lisicky played hockey in high school and thought about playing in college before electing to focus on lacrosse.
“I kind of like to get out and maybe have a little more physical style of play,” he said. “I can play on the wing, long-stick middie or in-close defense.
“The last three years I’ve really [honed] my fundamental defense and have tried not to lose many one-on-one matchups.”
Lisicky, who will be in a masters of accounting program in the McIntyre School, said he’ll play wherever he is needed.
“I’m pretty fast-paced,” he said. “I like to bring the ball up a lot. I did that a lot at Lynchburg, but I’m not sure how well that can translate to the [Division I] game.”
“I’ve been guarded in my optimism because I haven’t seen him play with our guys and don’t know what that transition will be like for him,” Starsia said, “but I certainly think he has a chance to help us someplace.”
Starsia had no update on Nick O’Reilly’s quest to gain a fifth-year of eligibility, but didn’t sound very optimistic about it. “From our perspective, he graduated and his eligibility has expired,” Starsia said. “Anything else is out of our hands.”