Weekend Previews: Sept. 20-22
What: Virginia (1-1) vs. Virginia Military Institute (1-2)
Where: Scott Stadium
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
The Skinny: Coming off its bye week, the Virginia football team returns to Scott Stadium Saturday for the first time since enduring a 59-10 thrashing at the hands of No. 2 Oregon two weeks ago.
The Cavaliers will host Virginia Military Institute in the 83rd meeting between the two programs. The matchup is the second time coach Mike London has faced the Keydets during his tenure at Virginia, with the previous affair — during London’s inaugural season in 2010 — resulting in a 48-7 blowout Cavalier win in Charlottesville.
After two straight games against top-25 defenses from 2012, Virginia is hoping to use the VMI game as an opportunity to show what its offense is capable of. Held mostly to short passes against the Ducks, sophomore quarterback David Watford will look to air it out more Saturday. Virginia is one of only two FBS teams – along with Michigan State – without a pass of 30 or more yards this year.
London, a former police officer and the son of a 30-year Air Force veteran, believes the game holds added significance with VMI coming to town on Military Appreciation Day at Scott Stadium.
“Even though that’s your opponent, you take a tremendous amount of pride in the fact that these young men maybe one day might be put in harm’s way,” London said. “It will be great to see the atmosphere … It’s a special day.”
The Keydets struggled out of the gate in the FCS, falling 34-0 to No. 14 Richmond in their opening game, but they rebounded to split their next two games against Glenville State and North Greenville. Senior quarterback Eric Kordenbrock has 818 passing yards so far, with six touchdowns to six different receivers. Sophomore Derrick Ziglar leads the rushing attack with 198 yards on 5.6 yards per carry.
Saturday’s game is the Cavaliers’ last home game before they hit the road to open ACC play at Pittsburgh, Sept. 28. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.
—compiled by Zack Bartee and Mike Eilbacher
What: No. 1 Virginia (7-0, 1-0 ACC) vs. Pittsburgh (4-3-1, 0-2 ACC)
Where: Pittsburgh, PA
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
The Skinny: The No. 1 Virginia women’s soccer team continues its three-game road trip when the squad faces off against ACC newcomer Pittsburgh. The Panthers have gotten off to a rocky start in the conference and have been shut out in both of their games thus far.
Virginia is off to a phenomenal start, outscoring opponents 28-3 this season. But the Cavaliers must be wary of the Panthers, as this marks the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Pittsburgh plays on an AstroTurf field, which could cause problems for Virginia. The Cavaliers like to keep the ball on the ground so the unpredictable bounces caused by turf could put Virginia to the test. To offset these potential challenges, Virginia will look to put away the Panthers early with its high octane offense, led by sophomore forward Brittany Ratcliffe, whose six goals are the most by any Cavalier.
—compiled by Ryan Taylor
What: No. 4 Virginia (7-0) vs. No. 1 North Carolina (6-0), No. 13 Northwestern (7-1)
Where: Turf Field at University Hall
When: Friday, 6 p.m. (Tar Heels); Sunday, 1 p.m. (Wildcats)
The Skinny: The No. 4 Virginia field hockey enters its most challenging weekend of the season to date, facing two ranked opponents including defending ACC champion No. 1 North Carolina. The Cavaliers have only beaten a No. 1 team once in program history, against Maryland in 2001 in a game that was decided by penalty strokes.
The Tar Heels have beaten the Cavaliers in each of the teams’ last five meetings, including a 3-2 win in overtime last season. The Tar Heels rank No. 1 in the conference in goals allowed per game with 0.83 and No. 2 in the conference in goals scored per game with 5.5.
Three North Carolina players rank in the conference’s top 10 in goals per game, but none rank as high as Virginia forwards senior Elly Buckley and freshman Caleigh Foust, who are No. 1 and No. 3, respectively. Additionally, Buckley’s 3.14 points per game — which includes assists — is good for fourth in the nation.
The No. 13 Wildcats enter the weekend riding a seven game winning streak, but like the Cavaliers, they face their toughest weekend of the season thus far. Before facing Virginia Sunday, Northwestern travels to No. 9 Duke Friday. Senior forward Nikki Parsley and sophomore midfielder Caroline Troncelliti, who each have five goals and two assists on the season, lead Northwestern statistically.
—compiled by Matt Comey
What: Virginia (2-3-0, 0-2-0 ACC) vs. NC State (3-1-0, 1-1-0 ACC)
Where: Klöckner Stadium
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
The Skinny: Virginia seeks its first conference win of the season when it faces NC State Friday at Klöckner Stadium.
The Cavaliers began the season as the No. 2 team in the country, but have struggled of late, losing tough contests against then-No. 10 Louisville, No. 4 Clemson and No. 15 Wake Forest.
Virginia appeared to take a step forward Tuesday night in a 3-0 win against No. 23 George Mason. The Cavaliers received goals from junior forward Ryan Zinkhan, sophomore midfielder Brian James and sophomore forward Darius Madison. Zinkhan and Madison scored for the first time this year, while James rebounded from sitting out in last Friday’s loss to No. 9 Wake Forest.
Virginia will try to continue its offensive turnaround — the team had totaled five goals in four games before its win over the Patriots — this Friday against NC State in its first ACC home game of the year.
The Cavaliers will look to score first, given that they have lost every game this season in which they have failed to do so. James is the Cavalier’s leading goal scorer with two goals on four shots. Freshman midfielder Jordan Allen, the No. 3 rated recruit by College Soccer News, leads Virginia with 13 shots including four on goal.
The Cavalier defense will also need to be strong for Virginia to defeat the Wolfpack. NC State senior midfielder Alex Martinez, who earned First Team All-ACC honors in 2012 after leading the conference in assists and finishing second in points, keys an attack that has attempted 78 shots while facing just 34 through four games.
Meanwhile, Cavalier sophomore goalkeeper Jeff Gal will seek to improve his save percentage of .611. To do so, he will need to slow Martinez and Wolfpack junior forward Nick Surkamp, who leads NC State with 16 shots including 10 on goal.
—compiled by Robert Elder and Matthew Morris
What: Cavalier Classic Virginia (4-5) vs. Seton Hall, Columbia, William & Mary
Where: Memorial Gymnasium
When: Friday, 7 p.m. (Pirates); Saturday, 12 p.m. (Lions); Saturday, 7 p.m. (Tribe)
The Skinny: After dropping all three games of the Western Kentucky Invitational, the Virginia volleyball team looks to get back in the win column during this weekend’s Cavalier Classic. They open the tournament with a match against Seton Hall Friday before facing Columbia and William & Mary Saturday.
The Cavaliers return home after a trip to Bowling Green, Ky. where they lost to then- No. 21 Western Kentucky, now-No. 24 Ohio and UNLV. Junior Mallory Woolridge recorded a season-high seven blocks against Ohio and was named to the All-Tournament team.
They’ll look to defend their undefeated home record in Friday night’s opener against Seton Hall. The Pirates (3-4), coming off two midweek road victories against Rutgers and Princeton, boast a strong 3-1 away record.
Saturday’s play opens up with Columbia, who notched its first win of the season against Fordham in the Columbia Invitational last weekend. William & Mary, Virginia’s last opponent of the tournament, earned a 3-0 victory against Norfolk State Tuesday.
—compiled by Kristen Cauley