Weekend Previews: March 21-23
What: No. 7 Virginia vs. No. 6 North Carolina (15-2, 2-0 ACC), No. 13 Duke (9-4, 1-0 ACC)
Where: Chapel Hill, N.C.; Durham, N.C.
When: Friday, 3 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m.
The Skinny: Following a tight 4-3 loss to No. 3 UCLA, the Cavaliers travel to North Carolina for a pair of matches against ACC rivals the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils.
North Carolina enters the weekend coming off a strong win against No. 18 Wake Forest. The last time the Cavaliers and Tar Heels faced off was in last year’s ACC tournament, when Virginia came away with a 4-0 victory. North Carolina’s squad has been bolstered since that time with the addition of freshman Ronnie Schneider, who is 25-3 on the season and was recently named ACC Player of the Week. Schneider and fellow freshman Jack Murray are 11-1 as a doubles team on the season. The duo will present a challenge to a Virginia team which dropped a double’s point for only the third time all season against UCLA.
The Cavaliers battle another Tobacco Road opponent Sunday, taking on Duke. The Blue Devils fell last week to top-ranked Oklahoma 4-3, coming up just short of the upset. Last season, Virginia won both meetings, including a 4-0 decision in the ITA National Indoor Quarterfinals. Duke boasts a deep team, with players at positions one and two ranked in the top-50 nationally.
The Virginia-Duke matchup will be the site of College MatchDay, broadcast on ESPN3. MatchDay will be held in Charlottesville later this season when the Cavaliers face NC State.
—compiled by Krishna Korupolu
What: No. 5 Virginia (15-3, 5-1) vs. Miami (12-10, 4-2)
Where: Alex Rodriguez Park, Coral Gables, Fla.
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m.; Monday, 7 p.m.
The Skinny: Virginia will open its third weekend of conference play against the Hurricanes Saturday. The Cavaliers, winners of six straight, will face a reeling Miami team which has lost five of its last seven games.
Wednesday saw Virginia continue its roll, besting the Towson Tigers 5-3. Although a Tuesday game against Rutgers was cancelled because of the weather, a make-up against Princeton was added.
Virginia’s young rotation of sophomore starters Nathan Kirby, Josh Sborz and Josh Waddell continues to impress. Kirby has earned a win in all five of his starts, posting an ACC best 0.59 ERA, with 28 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. Overall, Cavalier pitchers haven’t given up more than three runs to any opponent since their season opener, and their 1.92 team ERA is the lowest in the ACC.
Miami, on the other hand, plays high-scoring games. The Hurricanes have allowed seven or more runs in five of their last seven games, and have an overall team ERA of 3.96. Sophomore third baseman David Thompson leads the Miami hitters with a .328 average, while senior infielder Brad Fieger has driven in 16 runs.
Virginia junior outfielder Mike Papi continues his hot hitting, batting .353 with 19 RBIs and five home runs this season.
The final matchup of the three-game set on Monday will be televised on ESPNU. The Cavaliers will return to Charlottesville Wednesday to start a six-game homestand.
—compiled by Alix Glynn
What: No. 10 Virginia (6-2, 1-1 ACC) vs. No. 9 Johns Hopkins (5-1)
Where: Klöckner Stadium
When: Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
The Skinny: Senior attackman Mark Cockerton leads the nation with 28 goals on the season — six of which came in Virginia’s last two games, both of which were losing efforts. Since starting the season strong and handily defeating its first six opponents — climbing to No. 2 in the national polls in the process — Virginia has severely fallen off. It dropped consecutive games to No. 4 Cornell and No. 8 Notre Dame by a combined score of 30-18.
The Blue Jays also recently suffered their first loss of the season, dropping a 12-10 decision to No. 6 Syracuse — a squad the Cavaliers dominated 17-12. Johns Hopkins also boasts a potent offense, which has reached double digits in each of its six games thus far. The Blue Jay attack is spearheaded by sophomore attackman Ryan Brown, whose shot found the back of the net an astonishing eight times against the Orange a week ago.
This matchup promises to be an exciting and high-scoring affair. While both offenses surely will put on a show, the outcome of the game will hinge on which goalie is on top of his game. The Cavaliers unquestionably possess an efficient defense, led by senior captain Scott McWilliams as well as senior transfer Joseph Lisicky, which has forced 101 turnovers thus far. Despite this, freshman goalkeeper Matt Barrett must make stops if the Cavaliers are to get their season back on track.
—compiled by Ryan Taylor
What: No. 14 Virginia (4-5, 0-2 ACC) at No. 8 Duke (6-3, 1-1 ACC)
Where: Koskinen Stadium, Durham, N.C.
When: Saturday, 3 p.m.
The Skinny: Confident after a come-from-behind win Wednesday night against James Madison, Virginia will face the Blue Devils in search of their first conference win of the season. The Cavaliers dropped both of their previous conference games — an 18-14 loss against No. 3 Syracuse and a 14-10 defeat at the hands North Carolina.
In order to earn a win Saturday, Virginia will have to duplicate its play from the second half against James Madison. After trailing 8-5 at halftime, the Cavaliers used a 7-0 run to take the win. Junior attacker Casey Bocklet led the charge and finished the game with a hat-trick, her fourth of the season.
Virginia also received a huge contribution from senior attacker Liza Blue, who scored three goals and added an assist. Junior attacker Courtney Swan and senior midfielder Maddy Keeshan each scored two goals. The Cavalier defense, which has been porous at times this season, held the Dukes to just two second half goals.
Duke has lost against all three of the ranked opponents it has faced — No. 7 Northwestern, No. 2 Maryland and No. 13 Georgetown. However, the Blue Devils are on a three-game winning streak, averaging more than 17 goals per game in the stretch. Junior attacker Kerrin Maurer leads the Duke attack with 44 points on the season — 24 more than her next teammate — from 28 goals and 16 assists.
A win against the Blue Devils would create Virginia’s first win streak of the season, as the Cavaliers have yet to win consecutive games.
—compiled by Robert Elder
What: No. 6 Virginia (10-4, 4-1 ACC) vs. No. 22 Notre Dame (8-6, 2-4 ACC), Pittsburgh (4-5, 0-5 ACC)
Where: Snyder Tennis Center, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Friday, 3:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m.
The Skinny: The Virginia women’s tennis team welcomes new ACC rivals Notre Dame and Pittsburgh to Charlottesville this weekend. Despite splitting four matches during Spring Break, sophomore Danielle Collins’ two top-25 victories earned her the ACC Player of the Week title. Third-ranked sophomore Julia Elbaba and sophomore Stephanie Nauta are also key factors in Virginia’s strong singles competition.
Friday’s matchup against Notre Dame will mark the third time the two teams have met in program history. The Fighting Irish got their first two conference wins last week, defeating both No. 43 Florida State and No. 34 Boston College 6-1. Notre Dame is led in doubles by the 19th-ranked duo of senior Britney Sanders and sophomore Quinn Gleason.
After facing Boston College Friday, the Panthers will take on the Cavaliers for the first time. Former Cavalier player and volunteer assistant coach Emily Fraser makes her return to Charlottesville as an assistant coach for Pittsburgh. While the Panthers defeated Duquesne, 5-2, in a non-conference matchup last Saturday, they are still searching for their first ACC win of the season.
—compiled by Kristen Cauley
Track & Field
Where: Lannigan Field, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Saturday, all-day
The Skinny: Virginia track and field begins the outdoor portion of its season with the annual Virginia Cup in Charlottesville. With the beginning of spring, Cavalier athletes will look to transfer the momentum they gained during the indoor season.
Junior sprinter Jordan Lavender is fresh off an appearance at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. Competing in the 400 meter dash, Lavender did not advance out of the preliminary heat and finished 12th in a field of 16.
Four Virginia athletes will attempt to make a return appearance to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship in Eugene, Ore. Senior Abbey Karin finished 19th in the javelin throw in last year’s Championship meet. In addition, two Cavaliers, senior Barbara Strehler and graduate student Mark Amirault, competed in the 5000 meter run. Senior Thomas Porter ran in the 10000 meter race.
While the National Meet is still three months away, the Cavaliers plan to begin their strides towards Eugene, Ore. Saturday.
—compiled by Matthew Wurzburger