Weekend Previews: Feb. 21-23
"The Skinny" on weekend matchups for men's basketball, men's and women's lacrosse and women's tennis
Extensive previews for Virginia baseball and softball events this weekend ran in Friday’s edition of The Cavalier Daily and remain available online.
What: No. 14 Virginia (22-5, 13-1 ACC) vs. Notre Dame (14-13, 5-9 ACC)
Where: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
The Skinny: Virginia now sits alone atop the ACC standings by one-half game after No. 1 Syracuse fell on the road to Boston College Wednesday. The Cavaliers have won 10 straight, clinched a top-four seed and a double-bye in the ACC Tournament, and tied a school record set in the 1980-81 season with 13 ACC wins.
However, Virginia’s wins have not come easily as of late. The Cavaliers return to Charlottesville after a harrowing road trip, in which they beat Clemson, 63-58, and escaped Blacksburg with a 57-53 win against Virginia Tech. The Hokies led from the halfway mark in the first half — by as many as 11 points with 14:17 to play in the second half — until sophomore guard Justin Anderson and senior guard Joe Harris drained consecutive 3-pointers to take a 48-46 lead. Anderson would make another 3-pointer and throw down a vicious dunk to preserve the win.
Notre Dame faces Virginia in the last leg of its recent three-game road trip. The Irish were on a two-game roll — claiming a pair of four-point wins against Clemson in double overtime and Boston College — before falling Wednesday at Miami. Notre Dame reduced the Hurricanes’ 15-point second half lead to 65-64 with 22 seconds remaining, but Miami would ultimately survive the rally, 71-64.
Senior guard Eric Atkins directs the Irish offense, boasting a team-best 14.4 points and 5.1 assists per game during conference play. Atkins is largely responsible for the team’s 1.48 assist-turnover ratio. Notre Dame has playmakers at every position on the court, with junior swingman Pat Connaughton averaging 13.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and senior center Garrick Sherman contributing 13.1 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds per game in ACC play.
—compiled by Zack Bartee
What: No. 5 Virginia (3-0) vs. Rutgers (2-0)
Where: Klöckner Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Saturday, 5 p.m.
The Skinny: Sophomore attackman James Pannell and the undefeated Cavaliers play host to the Scarlet Knights in Rutgers’ first-ever trip to Klöckner Stadium. Virginia has won each of its previous games this season by the slimmest of margins — all three were single-goal victories.
Rutgers, on the other hand, has started its season with an offensive explosion, scoring 33 goals in its first two games. Also in stark contrast to the Cavaliers is the Scarlet Knights’ 11.5-goal margin of victory so far this season. This early dominance, though, could be explained by the weak competition Rutgers has faced — a luxury not afforded to Virginia.
The Cavaliers are led offensively by Pannell, who has scored 10 times across three games, and senior attackman Mark Cockerton. Freshman goalkeeper Matt Barrett, who has played well thus far and is saving nearly 50 percent of the shots he faces, anchors the Virginia defense.
The key to this game lies at the faceoff, where the Cavaliers have struggled lately. Virginia has won more than half of its faceoff attempts in just one game this season, but won merely 24 percent in its latest contest against Drexel. Given that Scarlet Knight junior midfielder Joseph Nardella is 87.8 percent on the season, Virginia will need a strong effort from junior midfielder Mick Parks and beyond if the team hopes to generate quick chances for its potent offense.
—compiled by Ryan Taylor
What: No. 9 Virginia (1-2) vs. No. 2 Syracuse (3-0)
Where: Klöckner Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
The Skinny: The Cavaliers earned their first victory of the season Wednesday against Richmond in dominating fashion, winning 18-9. Virginia was led by junior midfielder Courtney Swan, who scored five goals and an assist, and senior attacker Liza Blue, who tallied four goals and an assist.
After giving up 13 goals in the second half against Loyola last Saturday, the Cavalier defense held the Spiders to just three goals after halftime. The defense not only applied more pressure to the Spiders, but senior goalkeeper Liz Colgan also continued her impressive season, increasing her save count to 32 and her save percentage to .457.
Syracuse, which lost in last season’s Final Four to Maryland, has defeated Jacksonville, 21-7, Stetson, 25-0, and Canisius, 18-6. The Orange have outscored their opponents by a whopping 64-13 margin this season.
Leading the Syracuse offensive charge is sophomore attacker Kayla Treanor, who has scored 11 goals and added nine assists. Senior attacker Alyssa Murray has also been a force for the Orange, scoring 10 goals of her own and adding eight assists.
The Cavaliers fell to Syracuse last season, 10-9, in the Carrier Dome after squandering a 5-2 halftime lead. Syracuse is the third ranked team the Cavaliers will face in four games. Sunday marks Virginia’s first time facing the Orange as a conference opponent, with Syracuse leaving the Big East at the end of last year.
—compiled by Robert Elder
What: No. 13 Virginia (5-2) vs. No. 1 Duke (8-0); at No. 62 Boston College (7-0)
Where: Boar’s Head Sports Club, Charlottesville, Va.; Chestnut Hill, Ma.
When: Friday, 3:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.
The Skinny: The Virginia women’s tennis team opens up ACC play this weekend, hosting top-ranked Duke Friday before traveling to Boston College Sunday. The Cavaliers fell to Alabama, 4-3, in Tuscaloosa last time they took the court, despite a furious comeback effort from No. 39 freshman Rachel Pierson to tie the score at 3-3 and wins from sophomores No. 4 Julia Elbaba and No. 107 Stephanie Nauta. Virginia had defeated the Crimson Tide just six days prior in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship, 4-1.
The Blue Devils have not played a game since Feb. 10, when they defeated No. 2 UCLA, 4-3, to win the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Charlottesville. Five of Duke’s eight players are ranked, including No. 3 sophomore Beatrice Capra and No. 20 junior Ester Goldfeld. The Cavaliers have traditionally struggled against Duke, losing their last five matches and posting a 4-56 record against the team overall.
Before hosting Virginia Sunday, the Eagles will travel to No. 6 North Carolina to begin their ACC season. In their last game, the Eagles defeated Massachusetts 4-3. The matchups against the Cavaliers and the Tar Heels will be Boston College’s first matches against teams ranked in the top-15 this season.
—compiled by Kristen Cauley