What: No. 3 Virginia (9-2) vs. Duke (7-5)
Where: Jack Coombs Field, Durham, N.C.
When: Friday, 6 p.m.; Saturday, 1 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.
The Skinny: The No. 3 Cavaliers head into ACC play having won each of their past three games, all against Monmouth last weekend, and with a 71-27 run differential on the season. The Virginia offense is not exactly humming — last year’s team posted a .312 batting average and averaged 7.89 runs per game, while this year’s group is at sitting at .288 and 6.45, respectively — but the Cavalier bats have provided plenty of reason for optimism.
Junior first baseman Mike Papi, who slid into the leadoff spot after junior second baseman Branden Cogswell got off to a slow start, is batting .405 and reaching base at a .560 clip. Junior leftfielder Derek Fisher owns a .375 average, and junior centerfielder Brandon Downes has 15 RBI in 11 games. Cogswell was an encouraging four for 11 against Monmouth, and if junior third baseman Kenny Towns gets going too — he batted .290 last year but is two for 26 to start the year — then look out, because an already productive offense might just break out.
The Blue Devils, meanwhile, enter the competition off a losing 8-2 effort at home Wednesday against Liberty. Redshirt junior infielder Chris Marconcini, hitting .367, has three of Duke’s four home runs this year and leads the team with 13 RBIs. The two teams met last May for a three-game series in Charlottesville, with the Cavaliers sweeping the Blue Devils by a combined score of 37-19.
—compiled by Matthew Morris
What: No. 2 Virginia (6-0, 1-0 ACC) vs. No. 15 Cornell (4-0, 0-0 Ivy)
Where: Schoellkopf Field, Ithaca, N.Y.
When: Saturday, 12 p.m.
The Skinny: Virginia travels to Cornell this weekend for a matchup of unbeaten teams and historic lacrosse programs.
The Cavaliers and Big Red will face each other for the sixth-straight year, with the Cavaliers winning four of the last five encounters. However, the Cavaliers have not traveled to Cornell since 2010. The most recent three meetings between the two powerhouses have been held in either Charlottesville or Baltimore, M.D. in the annual Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic.
After dealing conference newcomer and then-No.8 Syracuse a second loss in the ACC last Saturday, the Cavaliers have moved up two spots in the USILA coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse media polls.
Cornell gained one spot in the USILA Coaches poll after beating Michigan 15-14 in overtime last Saturday to avoid a major upset. For his performance last week, which includes the game-winning goal against the Wolverines in overtime, junior attackman Matt Donovan was named the Ivy League Player of the Week.
In Cornell’s win against Canisius 19-6 this past Tuesday, a game where 11 different Big Red players scored, Donovan recorded a goal and two assists.
Donovan has 12 goals on the season, but the Cavaliers’ senior attackman Mark Cockerton and sophomore attackman James Pannell lead the country with 22 goals each. Cockerton also leads the nation with 31 points.
—compiled by Chanhong Luu
What: No. 5 Virginia (8-2, 3-0 ACC) vs. No. 12 North Carolina (11-3, 3-1 ACC), No. 61 Maryland (5-4, 1-3 ACC)
Where: Snyder Tennis Center, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Saturday, 12 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m.
The Skinny: The Virginia women’s tennis team begins the outdoor season by hosting ACC rivals North Carolina and Maryland this weekend. The Cavaliers defeated Syracuse 6-1 last Saturday, sweeping all three doubles courts and only dropping one singles match.
The last time the Cavaliers and Tar Heels met, Virginia upset then-No. 1 North Carolina in 2013 for the first win against a top-ranked team in program history. Heading into this year’s match, the Tar Heels went 1-1 last weekend, defeating No. 46 Wake Forest before falling 2-5 to No. 1 Duke. North Carolina brings a slew of top-10 ranked doubles and singles players, including No. 1 freshman Jamie Loeb. Leading the Tar Heels in their strong doubles play is the fifth-ranked duo of junior Caroline Price and sophomore Whitney Kay.
Maryland comes to Charlottesville with a program-high No. 61 ranking. The Terrapins went 1-1 in their outings last weekend, topping Pittsburgh then losing, 2-5, to No. 55 Virginia Tech.
—compiled by Kristen Cauley
What: No. 8 Virginia (2-3, 0-1 ACC) vs. No. 1 North Carolina (6-0, 1-0 ACC)
Where: Klöckner Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
The Skinny: Virginia will conclude its five game home stand with a meeting against North Carolina. The Tar Heels are the consensus No. 1 in the ILWCA coaches poll, receiving all 400 first place votes. The matchup will be Virginia’s fifth against a ranked opponent in its first six games.
The Cavaliers pulled out their first victory against a ranked opponent this season last Saturday against No. 9 Penn State. Senior attacker Liza Blue led the Virginia offense with four goals and one assist. Junior midfielder Morgan Stephens and junior attackers Courtney Swan and Casey Bocklet each scored two goals in the contest. Senior goalkeeper Liz Colgan tallied 12 saves for the Cavaliers.
On the season, Swan leads Virginia with 22 points from 17 goals and five assists. The Cavaliers have five players who have scored double-digit points — Blue with 16 and Bocklet, Stephens and senior midfielder Maddy Keeshan each with 11.
After defeating all of its opponents by at least 10 goals, North Carolina had its narrowest victory of the season last week against No. 15 Penn, winning 13-8. Virginia, however, will be the highest ranked opponent they have faced this season.
North Carolina has seven different players who have reached double-digits in points on the season, five of whom also have double-digit goals. Senior attacker Abbey Friend is the most dangerous Tar Heel attacker, having scored 25 goals and added nine assists on the season, including six goals against Vanderbilt.
—compiled by Robert Elder
Swim & Dive
What: NCAA Zone A Diving Championships
Where: Christiansburg Aquatic Center, Christiansburg, Va.
When: March 10-12
The Skinny: The Virginia diving teams will compete starting Monday at the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships. The men’s team will send all four of its divers, while the women’s team will send sophomores Becca Corbett and Katie Warburg. The meet serves as a qualifying event to determine which divers from five different regions will compete in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships later in the month.
Junior JB Kolod has been Virginia’s most dominant diver this season. Kolod broke his own school record on the three-meter diving event with a score of 428.10 in the Pittsburgh meet. In another meet this season, Kolod set a new program record at one-meter diving — again over one he already held — by posting a 387.95. Virginia will also send sophomore Carl Buergler to the competition. Buergler is second and third on the Virginia all time records for the three-meter and one-meter diving events, respectively.
Corbett and Warburg are Virginia’s most consistent women’s divers. Corbett holds the school record in the one-meter diving with a score of 301.42, and also holds second place in Virginia’s three-meter diving record. Holding first place in the three-meter event is Warburg with a score of 316.05. Warburg also holds the third highest score in the one-meter event.
—compiled by Robert Elder
Track & Field
What: 2014 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships
Where: Albuquerque, N.M.
When: March 14-15
The Skinny: Virginia track and field will be sending one athlete to the 2014 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships next week. Junior sprinter Jordan Lavender will make the trip to the desert to compete March 14 against the nation’s best athletes.
Lavender will be competing in the women’s 400-meter dash — the event she won at the ACC Indoor Championships. Her seed time of 52.06 places Lavender fifth in a field of 16 competitors. At ACCs her winning time was 52.75.
Ahead of Lavender are a duo of Longhorns — junior Ashley Spencer and sophomore Courtney Okolo — Florida sophomore Robin Reynolds and freshman Shamier Little of Texas A&M. Okolo placed fourth in the 400-meter at the 2013 Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
This will mark Lavender’s first trip to an NCAA Championship event. The 400-meter semifinals run Friday night and the two heat winners, plus the next four fastest placers, advance to the finals the next day.
—compiled by Matthew Wurzburger
What: Virginia (2-14, 0-3 ACC) vs. No. 9 Florida State (18-2, 0-0 ACC)
Where: The Park, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Saturday, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.
The Skinny: Virginia softball welcomes top-10 ACC foe Florida State to Charlottesville for its home opener this weekend. The struggling Cavaliers will have three opportunities to pull off a major upset against the perennially powerful Seminoles.
A daunting challenge awaits Virginia inside the circle. Florida State’s pitching — consistently among the best in the nation — has been virtually untouchable this season. The staff has combined for a microscopic .77 earned run average, and opponents are batting a feeble .185 against them. Junior Lacey Waldrop, the undisputed ace, has already been named ACC Pitcher of the Week three times this season — most recently on Monday— and was a third team All-American in 2013.
The Seminoles pack a potent offense to complement their stellar pitching, hitting .313 with a .480 slugging percentage. Redshirt junior Maddie O’Brien is the largest threat at the plate, pacing the team in batting average, home runs, runs batted in, total bases and slugging percentage. Cavalier starting pitcher sophomore Aimee Chapdelaine, allowing a .359 batting average in her 52.2 innings pitched, faces a tall task in limiting O’Brien and the rest of the Florida State lineup.
—compiled by Matthew Wurzburger
*What: *Darius Rucker Intercollegiate
Where: Hilton Head, S.C.
When: March 7-9
The Skinny: The Virginia women’s golfers travel to South Carolina this weekend for their second event of the spring season. A strong field including 11 top-25 teams will be present, among them reigning tournament champion No. 6 Alabama.
To open 2014, the Cavaliers competed at the Florida State Match-Up, finishing fourth out of 11 behind Florida State, No. 11 Clemson and host of the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate No. 12 South Carolina. Virginia as a team shot a three-day total 24-over 888, led by freshman Lauren Diaz-Yi who posted a 3-over 219, tied for seventh among all players. Her performance included a career-best 2-under 70 in the final round. The pairing of Virginia and Clemson won the match-up round as part of the tournament’s unique format.
The Cavaliers will also play at the SunTrust Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. March 14-16. Last year, Virginia mounted a fourth place finish at the event with a 37-over 877 total. Current senior Portland Rosen shot a 1-over 211, good enough for second-place overall.
First round tee-time for Virginia is set at 8:45 a.m. Friday at Hilton Head.
—compiled by Peter Nance