Weekend Previews: Feb. 28-March 2
What: No. 6 Virginia (6-2) vs. Monmouth (1-2)
Where: Davenport Field, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Friday, 3 p.m.; Saturday 1 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.
The Skinny: The No. 6 Cavaliers are looking to bounce back from a 3-2 loss to Virginia Military Institute on Tuesday when they host Monmouth for a three-game set this weekend. Monmouth is just 1-2 on the season as their first four games were cancelled due to the weather.
Junior outfielder Derek Fisher is hitting a team-best .433 through eight games, while junior centerfielder Brandon Downes leads the Cavaliers with 11 RBIs and three home runs. Junior first baseman Mike Papi has scored 10 runs, including both Virginia runs in the loss to VMI. Sophomore pitchers Nathan Kirby and Josh Sborz each are 2-0 with 10 strikeouts apiece.
The Hawks, playing their first season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, finished with a 30-24-1 record last season. Junior outfielder Steve Wilgus boasts a team-high six hits, and senior pitcher Andrew McGee notched the only win, along with six strikeouts. However, through three games, the Hawks are still searching for their first home run of the season. Monmouth is playing on the road for the first month of the season — they do not play a home game in West Long Branch, NJ until March 22.
Following the series against Monmouth, the Cavaliers will begin their ACC slate at Duke next weekend.
—compiled by Alix Glynn
What: No. 4 Virginia (5-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. No. 8 Syracuse (2-1, 0-1 ACC)
Where: Klöckner Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Saturday, 7:30 pm
The Skinny: Virginia attempts to remain undefeated as it faces perennial powerhouse Syracuse. The pair have played each other every season since 1994, but Saturday marks the teams’ first matchup as members of the ACC.
While Virginia sports an unblemished record, it has not come easy. The Cavaliers’ first three games were each decided by one goal, including an overtime thriller against Loyola and a game-winner with 15 seconds left against Drexel. Both of those teams are ranked and have lost only to the Cavaliers. Virginia has won its last two contests by a combined 15 goals, with the most recent being a 14-6 victory at Mount St. Mary’s.
As the Cavaliers aim to open ACC play with a victory, they will rely on senior attackman Mark Cockerton and sophomore attackman James Pannell, who lead the team with 18 and 15 goals, respectively. Junior attackman Owen Van Arsdale has also been instrumental in facilitating the offense, recording a team-high 12 assists on the season.
Syracuse boasts an overtime win over then-No. 10 Albany, but fell to No. 3 Maryland 16-8 last Saturday in the Orange’s inaugural ACC game. That loss dropped Syracuse from its No. 1 ranking in the poll, which it had occupied since the preseason. Sophomore attackman Dylan Donahue leads the Orange with 12 goals, and junior attackman Kevin Rice tops the team with 11 assists.
Last season, Syracuse prevailed at home against Virginia 9-8 in overtime when Donahue set up Rice for the game-winning goal. The home team has won the past four games in the series.
—compiled by Andrew O’Shea
What: No. 9 Virginia (1-3, 0-1 ACC) vs. No. 8 Penn State (2-1, 0-0 ALC)
Where: Klöckner Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Saturday, 12 p.m.
The Skinny: For the fourth time in five games this season, Virginia will face another top-10 opponent when the Nittany Lions travel to Charlottesville Saturday. The game will be the fourth in a five game home stand for Virginia.
The Cavaliers are coming off of a disappointing loss to No. 2 Syracuse, 18-14. Virginia attempted to keep pace with Syracuse’s high-octane offense that was averaging more than 21 goals per game, but fell behind early and could never quite recover. Junior midfielder Courtney Swan led the Cavaliers in the defeat with four goals and two assists, along with 10 draw controls.
Through just four games, Swan has scored 15 goals and added five assists, leading Virginia in points by nine. She has recorded a hat trick in every game this season. Swan has also recorded 24 draw controls, 16 more than the next Virginia player. Senior attacker Liza Blue, with 10 goals, and senior midfielder Maddy Keeshan, with nine goals, are second and third on the team in scoring, respectively.
Penn State defeated Bucknell and Duquesne, but fell to No. 3 Maryland, 14-7. The Nittany Lions do not have one dominant scorer, as no player has scored more than six goals. However, Penn State has seven different players with at least four goals, compared to Virginia’s five.
Virginia is seeking revenge from last season when the two teams competed. Despite an 8-5 Cavalier lead at the half, Penn State used a 6-0 run and then a 4-0 run to escape with the win, 15-14, at Klöckner.
—compiled by Robert Elder
What: No. 3 Virginia (7-2, 2-0 ACC) at Syracuse (0-7, 0-2 ACC)
Where: Syracuse, N.Y.
When: Saturday, 11 a.m.
The Skinny: After an exciting weekend, the third-ranked Virginia women’s tennis team looks to continue its momentum as they travel to Syracuse Saturday. The Cavaliers upset No. 1 Duke, 5-2, last Friday before defeating then-No. 56 Boston College 6-1 in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Sunday to achieve a top-10 national ranking.
The team’s No. 3 ranking is the first time the Cavaliers have been ranked in the top-five in program history, besting their previous high, the No. 6 ranking in 2012. Fourth-ranked sophomore Julia Elbaba continues to be a key player for the Cavaliers, clinching the win in both of last weekend’s matches. No. 107 sophomore Stephanie Nauta has also excelled for Virginia, winning all seven of her matches this season.
Hosting the Cavaliers, Syracuse is looking to snap a seven-match losing streak and pick up its first win of the season. The Orange lost both of its matches last weekend, falling 4-3 to No. 46 North Carolina State Friday before being defeated by No. 1 Duke Sunday, 6-1.
—compiled by Kristen Cauley
What: Virginia (2-11) at NC State (5-6)
Where: Raleigh, N.C.
When: Saturday, 12 p.m., 2 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m.
Virginia softball begins ACC action this weekend with a three-game series against North Carolina State. The Cavaliers play a doubleheader March 1 and then conclude the series the following day.
Virginia dropped four of its five games at the Mary Nutter Classic last weekend. However, there were signs that the Cavaliers’ bats are beginning to wake up. The team averaged four runs a game during the weekend, an entire run better than their season average. However, the Wolfpack’s pitching staff poses a serious challenge.
Wolfpack junior Emily Weiman will most likely take to the circle for at least two starts. Weiman is 5-5 this season with a 3.76 earned run average. After a shaky start to the season Weiman has been untouchable, winning four consecutive games — including a no-hit effort against St. Bonaventure — and striking out 27 in that span. Opposing teams have not scored a run against Weiman in 20 innings.
NC State’s offense left the gates as cold as possible. In the season’s first seven games, the Wolfpack scored just 10 runs and were shut out three times. Their bats exploded in their last game, as they put up 15 runs on 17 hits in five innings.
Sophomore Aimee Chapdelaine will be charged with cooling off NC State’s bats for the Cavaliers. Another rough weekend at the Mary Nutter Classic drove Chapdelaine’s record to 2-10 and further ballooned the struggling pitcher’s earned run average to 8.31.
—compiled by Matthew Wurzburger
What: Virginia (13-15, 6-9 ACC) at Florida State (18-10, 6-9 ACC)
When: Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
Where: Tallahassee, Fla.
The Cavaliers defeated the then-No. 17 Seminoles Jan. 19 behind sophomore guard Faith Randolph’s career-high 26 points. The win jumpstarted the Cavaliers on their best stretch of the year, a run of four wins in five conference games, including a 14-point upset of then-No. 6 Maryland at John Paul Jones Arena. Now, the Cavaliers and Seminoles meet in vastly changed circumstances. Virginia is out of contention for an NCAA Tournament berth, while the Seminoles have tumbled from the national rankings. This game, nonetheless, holds ACC Tournament implications. The winner will take the conference’s No. 8 seed in Greensboro, N.C., while the loser will fall to No. 10 and have to play on back-to-back days. The Cavaliers will hope to find a winning strategy once again.
—compiled by Matthew Morris