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Weekend Previews 2/20-2/22

The Skinny on this weekend's games for baseball, women's tennis, softball, and indoor track and field

Baseball

What: No. 1 Virginia (3-0, 0-0 ACC) at Marist College (0-0, 0-0 MAAC) and No.1 Virginia at La Salle University (2-1, 0-0 AAC)

Where: Charleston, S.C.

When: Friday at 2 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., and Sunday at 11 a.m.

The Skinny: Due to inclement weather, the Cavalier faithful will have to wait a little while longer to see the U.Va. baseball team christen their 2015 home campaign at Davenport Field.

After sweeping a three game series against ECU in Greenville this past weekend, the now No.1 Virginia Cavaliers were scheduled for a home opener against VCU Tuesday. But after a hefty snowfall left Charlottesville covered in five inches of fresh powder, the 3-0 Cavaliers now head to Charleston,South Carolina. where they are set to play a three-game set against the Marist Red Foxes, as well as a one-game series against the La Salle Explorers.

Through its first few games, Virginia has once again proved it is the team to beat, scoring a combined 16 runs and tallying 29 hits thus far. Add to the mix a hot start from sophomore catcher Matt Thaiss (5-10, 4 RBI, 2 HR) and a pitching staff anchored by junior ace Nathan Kirby (7 IP, 3 H, 5 SO, 0 ER in the season opener), and the Cavaliers are starting to look like a team that opposing coaches and players have nightmares about.

Virginia should be an especially tough matchup for a Marist team that only managed to notch 17 wins in 2014 and failed to have a single player bat over .300 — senior first baseman Steve Laurino led the team at .299.

— Compiled by Will Fahy

Women’s tennis

What: No. 7 Virginia (6-2) vs. Syracuse (5-2, 0-1 ACC) and No. 7 Virginia vs. Boston College (5-4, 1-0 ACC)

Where: Boar’s Head Sports Club

When: Saturday, 12 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.

The Skinny: After capping off the out-of-conference season two weeks ago with the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, the No. 7 Virginia women’s tennis opens up its ACC schedule this weekend with home matches against No. 57 Boston College and No. 59 Syracuse.

Virginia went 2-1 at the ITA National Indoors — a competitive tournament held in Charlottesville consisting of 16 teams ranked in the top 25 nationally — notching wins against No. 20 South Carolina and No. 17 Texas Christian . The team’s only loss came in a 4-1 match versus No. 2 Florida.

This weekend Virginia will open on Saturday against Syracuse (5-2). The Orange lost almost a month ago to No. 7 Alabama and were on a three-game win streak prior to their loss against Boston College last weekend. In terms of player rankings, the Cavaliers hold a clear advantage in the matchup. Four Virginia players are ranked in the top 125 singles players, whereas none of Syracuse’s players are so highly ranked.

The Cavaliers will follow up their match against Syracuse with another ACC matchup against Boston College (5-4, 1-0 ACC) on Sunday. The Eagles lost their first two matches to open the season, but won four of their last five matches, including their only ACC match against the aforementioned Syracuse.

-— Compiled by Daniel Fisher

Indoor track and field

What: Alex Wilson Invitational

Where: Notre Dame, Indiana

When: Saturday

The Skinny: A majority of Cavalier track and field athletes competed at either the Iowa State Classic in Ames or the Don Kirby Elite Meet in Albuquerque, New Mexico last weekend. Sophomore Jordan Young and graduate student Vanessa Fabrizio shined in wintry Iowa.

Young topped his own program record in the weight throw and won the shot put. Meanwhile, Fabrizio shattered her own record in the 800-meter run. In New Mexico, two pole vaulters — senior Sarah DeVita and freshmen Bridget Guy — cleared a height of 12 feet 8.25 inches, only half an inch off Guy’s program record from two weeks ago.

While Fabrizio will be traveling to Notre Dame this weekend, Young, DeVita and Guy will stay in Charlottesville preparing for the ACC Indoor Championships Feb. 26–28. Only distance medley runners (4 by 400) will compete in the Alex Wilson Invitational.

The women’s relay team — Fabrizio, senior Jordan Lavender, junior Peyton Chaney and sophomore Chimere Ezumah — finished third in Ames with a time of 3:41.93, the fourth-best time in school history. The men’s relay team — senior Peyton Hazzard, junior Devin Brewer, sophomore David Bartha and freshman Logan Carrington — finished fifth in Ames with a time of 3:14.60. In January, this talented group, minus Brewer, shattered the 4 by 400 program record that had stood intact for 26 years.

— Compiled by Grant Gossage

Men’s Lacrosse

What: No. 6 Virginia (2-0) vs. Rutgers (1-1)

Where: High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, N.J.

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Virginia men’s lacrosse team will be looking to start 3-0 for the eighth time in as many seasons when they trek up to New Jersey this weekend to battle Rutgers.

The Cavaliers are coming off a strong start to the season that may not have been expected given the youth on both the offensive and defensive end. In their opener, Virginia took to the road and earned a 13-12 upset victory against Loyola.

Saturday, after falling behind 3-0 in the opening quarter, the Cavaliers plowed through Drexel — and the snow — en route to a 14-10 win.

Despite major struggles at the faceoff X — Virginia has won just 35.7 percent through two games — the inexperienced defense has more than held its own.

Sophomore goalie Matt Barrett seems to have rebounded from a tumultuous 2014 season, as he has collected 21 saves thus far — including 12 against Drexel — while the new names on both close defense and the defensive midfield have showed cohesion, whether playing a man or zone scheme.

Such success bodes well for Virginia against Rutgers, who scored only 10 and seven goals in their win against St. Johns and loss against Richmond, respectively.

The Rutgers offense is led by sophomore attackman Christian Trasolini, who netted four goals and an assist against St. Johns to earn Inside Lacrosse’s Player of the Week. However, he was held scoreless the following week against Richmond.

The Scarlet Knights – in their first season in the Big Ten after leaving the Big East — went 8-8 a year ago, good for their best season since 2004.

—Compiled by Robert Elder

Softball

What: Virginia softball team (3-6) vs. Marist (0-0), Jacksonville State (6-4), George Washington (1-5), Arkansas (3-7), Campbell (5-2), Elon (3-4)

Where: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, FL

When: Friday, 1:15 p.m.; 5:45 p.m.; Saturday, 11:00 a.m..; 3:30 p.m.; Sunday, 10:00 a.m.; 12:15 p.m.;

The Skinny: After falling 0-2 at last weekend’s Eagle Challenge, the Virginia softball team will participate in the final of its early-season tournaments as it competes in the Citrus Classic this weekend in Orlando, Florida.

The Cavaliers will play a total of six games, including a Saturday showdown against George Washington. The Colonials will be a familiar source of competition to Virginia, as the Cavaliers have earned victories in the last nine matchups. The last encounter between the two teams culminated in a nerve-racking thriller during the 2012-2013 season, in which the Cavaliers downed the Colonials 2-1 in the tenth inning. Then-sophomore infielder Megan Harris laced a bases-loaded single to left to score then-senior outfielder Taylor Williams to seal the victory. Now, George Washington is looking to put its losing streak against Virginia to an end.

The Colonials are not the only familiar opponent Virginia will see this weekend, as three of its games come against teams with which the Cavaliers have a history. Sunday the Cavaliers will face off against Elon and Campbell. Virginia owns a combined 22-5 all-time record over the teams. Arkansas has given the Cavaliers a bit more trouble in the past.

Despite all of the history present in this tournament, the Cavaliers will see two entirely new opponents Friday. Virginia opens play against Marist and Jacksonville State at 1:15 and 5:45 p.m., respectively.

Virginia is hoping to continue its trend of offensive outbursts displayed the last two weekends as the Cavaliers scored fourteen runs in one game in each tournament. As they compete in six games this weekend, the Cavaliers will again rely on their home-run heavy approach as they intend to pack a punch.

— Compiled by Charles Siegel

Women’s Basketball

What: Virginia (15-11, 5-8 ACC) vs. Virginia Tech (11-17, 1-12 ACC)

Where: Charlottesville

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Virginia women’s basketball team returns home Sunday to face in-state rival Virginia Tech in a doubleheader with the men’s basketball team.

The Cavaliers are seeking their first win in four games after losing 68-63 in overtime to Pittsburgh Thursday night.

Virginia dominated the game until the last five minutes of the second half when the Panthers started chipping away at a 10 point Virginia lead. The Cavaliers missed their last seven shots in regulation to push the game into overtime, where Pitt outscored Virginia 10-5 to win its third straight.

Like the Cavaliers, the Hokies are also in a losing stretch, having lost 13 of their last 14 games including their most recent loss against No. 8 Louisville, 69-49 Thursday night. One of these losses came at the hands of the Cavaliers in an earlier matchup on Jan. 4. The 62-47 result was the Cavaliers’ 17th straight win against the Hokies.

In the game, three Cavalier players scored in double digits including sophomore guard Breyana Mason, who paced the Cavaliers with 16 points. Virginia Tech’s freshman guard Rachel Camp led her team with 23 points in the first matchup. Kamp is also the team’s leading rebounder after freshman forward Regan Magarity went down with a calf injury.

Magarity was averaging 14 points and 10.6 rebounds in the first five games of the season before having season-ending surgery to repair her injured calf.

Virginia Tech will also rely on senior guard Vanessa Panousis, who led the Hokies with 11 points against Louisville on senior night.

—Compiled by Chanhong Luu

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