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Weekend Previews: Feb. 13-15

<p>Senior Nick Sulzer and the Virginia wrestling team face a stiff test in top-ranked Iowa. The Cavaliers and Hawkeyes get going at 2 p.m. Sunday. </p>

Senior Nick Sulzer and the Virginia wrestling team face a stiff test in top-ranked Iowa. The Cavaliers and Hawkeyes get going at 2 p.m. Sunday. 

The Skinny on weekend competition for Virginia’s track and field, men’s tennis, softball, women’s basketball, women’s golf and wrestling teams. Full-length previews for baseball, men’s basketball, men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse are available online and in Thursday’s print edition of The Cavalier Daily.

Track and Field

What: Iowa State Classic; Don Kirby Elite Meet

Where: Ames, Iowa; Albuquerque, New Mexico

When: Friday-Saturday

The Skinny: Cavalier athletes — 24 in total — returned from the Doc Hale VT Elite Meet in Blacksburg last weekend. It was a positive trip. Freshman Bridget Guy shattered the program record in the women’s pole vault, clearing a height of 3.88 meters.

Other freshmen, including Mia Barron, Katie Freix, Kiana Hairston, Daniel Hamm and Logan Carrington, handled the pressure of newness with poise. Barron and Freix recorded top-five finishes in the triple jump and pole vault, respectively.

Senior Jordan Lavender took third place in the women’s 400-meter invitational. She crossed the finish line in 54.13 seconds, 1.38 seconds slower than the mark that made her an ACC Indoor Champion last season. But Lavender has the competitive fire and a whole second half of the season to find her extra gear.

Depth was on display too, as graduate student Vanessa Fabrizio and sophomores Chimere Ezumah, Brooke Grice and Kendall Cowne won the women’s distance medley with a time of 12 minutes and 2.44 seconds. Building off Blacksburg, the Cavalier track and field program will divide and conquer this weekend.

—compiled by Grant Gossage

Men’s tennis

What: ITA National Team Indoors

Where: Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago

When: Friday-Monday

The Skinny: The Virginia men’s tennis team will compete in the ITA National Team Indoors this weekend at the Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago. The invitational brings together the 16 best teams in college tennis for a weekend of collegiate tennis of the highest order.

No. 3 Virginia (5-0) has won this prestigious tournament five of the last seven years, and the last time the team took home the title it also won the NCAA Championship. No. 1 Southern California — one of the two other teams to win since 2007 — is seeded first, so the Cavaliers have their work cut out for them.

Virginia will battle No. 17 TCU (5-0) in Friday’s first round, with the winner playing in Saturday’s quarterfinals against the victor of the No. 6 Duke-No. 10 Baylor matchup. Semifinals take place Sunday and the championship match Monday.

Sophomore Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and junior Ryan Shane—who moved up to first and fourth respectively in the most recent national rankings—will lead the way for Virginia. Kwiatkowski’s No. 1 ranking marks only the sixth time in program history a Cavalier has achieved that feat.

The Midtown Tennis Club was once referred to as “the benchmark against which all tennis clubs should be measured” by the legendary Billie Jean King, who won 12 Grand Slam singles titles on the WTA Tour.

—compiled by Jacob Hochberger

Softball

What: Virginia (1-4) vs. Nebraska-Omaha (2-3), Delaware State (0-5) and North Carolina Central

Where: Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina

When: Friday, 1 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.; Saturday, 1 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.

The Skinny: The Virginia softball team will compete in the second of its series of three tournaments to begin the season in the Eagle Challenge in the NC Central Tournament this weekend.

The Cavaliers will play a series of four games between Friday and Saturday. Two of these matchups — the first game Friday and the second game Saturday — will pit Virginia against Nebraska-Omaha. This weekend will mark the first-ever encounter between the two teams. After a bumpy 2-3 showing last week in the Tangi Tourism Lion Classic, the Mavericks are hoping for more consistent play.

Virginia will take on Delaware State in its second game Friday. The Hornets will be desperately seeking a win after being dealt five consecutive losses in the Pirate Classic Tournament last weekend to start their season.

Virginia appears to have the Hornets’ number, as the Cavaliers have earned victories in seven of the teams’ last eight encounters. Virginia and Delaware State clashed twice last season, with Delaware State shut out each time, 8-0 and 2-0. This weekend, Virginia will look to continue its hot streak against the Hornets, while Delaware State is aiming to turn the tide.

Lastly, the Cavaliers will compete against NC Central in Saturday’s first game. After finishing with a 9-35 record last season, the Lady Eagles are looking to start off their season strong as they play their first games of the year this weekend. The Cavaliers have only seen NC Central once, in their season opener last year. Virginia earned a resounding 8-1 victory, and the Lady Eagles are likely hoping to show the Cavaliers a much different team from last year’s.

After displaying a powerful offensive burst in the Kajikawa Classic last week, in which both junior pitcher Aimee Chapdelaine and freshman pitcher and outfielder Allison Davis hit grand slams, the Cavaliers are hoping their offensive momentum will sustain them throughout this weekend and beyond.

—compiled by Chuck Siegel

Women’s basketball

What: Virginia (15-9, 5-6 ACC) vs. No. 7 Florida State (22-3, 9-2 ACC)

Where: John Paul Jones Arena

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

The Skinny: After losing to No. 11 Duke, 71-45, on Thursday night, the Virginia women’s basketball team has a quick turnaround as it faces No. 7 Florida State at home in the annual Play4Kay PINK OUT game on Sunday.

Against Duke, Virginia got senior center Sarah Imovbioh involved in the offense again, a point of emphasis leading up to the game, but offensive production from all other players was minimal. Imovbioh led the team with 14 points and eight rebounds but scored 10 of her points in the first half.

Florida State is coming off a 71-63 Thursday night loss against No. 17 North Carolina. The Seminoles had beaten three straight ranked opponents but couldn’t stop the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill.

Florida State junior center Adut Bulgak entered the game averaging a double-double to lead her team in scoring and rebounding but only scored nine points against North Carolina. She was also named ESPNW’s National Player of the Week, co-ACC Player of the week and one of 30 finalists for the Naismith Trophy Women’s College Player of the Year on Monday.

Bulgak did have 13 boards against North Carolina. With Bulgak up front, the Seminoles have one of the best rebounding teams in the league—they lead the ACC in offensive rebounds per game. Virginia, meanwhile, is in the bottom five of the league in offensive and defensive rebounding, which hurt the Cavaliers against Duke, as the Blue Devils held a 42-25 advantage on the glass.

—compiled by Chanhong Luu

Women’s golf

What: Florida State Match-Up

Where: Southwood Golf Course in Tallahassee, Florida

When: Friday-Sunday

The Skinny: Fresh off a Tuesday title at the UCF Challenge in Orlando, the Virginia women’s golf team competes this weekend at the 12-team Florida State Match-Up at the Southwood Golf Course in Tallahassee, Florida. The No. 16 Cavaliers go up against a talented field as one of seven top-50 teams participating in the event.

Last year, Virginia shot 24-over 888 to finish fourth of 11 teams as then-No. 13 South Carolina took home the title with a 7-over 871. The Gamecocks, now ranked No. 2, are back this year and will be favored alongside No. 8 Mississippi State.

Then-freshman Lauren Diaz-Yi paced the Cavaliers at last year’s Match-Up, carding a 3-over 219 for a seventh-place finish and her first collegiate top 10. The Thousand Oaks, California native’s three-day score and individual finish established program records for a freshman.

Then-junior Briana Mao and then-sophomore Lauren Coughlin placed 16th and 25th, respectively.

Then-senior Elizabeth Brightwell matched Mao’s eight-over 224, while then-senior Portland Rosen posted a 10-over 226 to finish 29th.

Both Mao and Coughlin competed for Virginia in Orlando earlier this week as the Cavaliers claimed their seventh-ever event win.

No. 20 Texas A&M, No. 26 Furman, host No. 35 Florida State and No. 42 Coastal Carolina round out this year’s top-50 competitors, while Georgia State, East Tennessee State, Troy and Kennesaw State come in below that threshold.

—compiled by Matthew Morris

Wrestling

What: NWCA National Duals: No. 13 Virginia (10-5, 2-2 ACC) at No. 1 Iowa (13-0, 8-0 Big Ten)

Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa

When: Sunday, 2 p.m.

The Skinny: Virginia faces its sternest test of the season as it challenges top-ranked Iowa this Sunday in the NWCA National Duals at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. The Hawkeyes will be the Cavaliers’ eighth ranked opponent of the year — Virginia is 4-3 in such bouts.

Sunday marks Virginia’s second-ever match with perennially excellent Iowa. The Cavaliers lost 26-12 in 2012.

Virginia is coming off a 17-16 upset loss last Saturday at North Carolina. The match represented the latest in a long string of nail-biters. Five of the team’s last six matches were decided by three or fewer points, and four of the team’s five losses have come by three points or fewer.

The Hawkeyes — who have won 27 national championships — are perfect on the season. They defeated Ohio State — their only common opponent with the Cavaliers this year — 18-14 on Jan. 4. All 10 of the team’s starters are ranked in the top 20 in their weight classes.


—compiled by Matthew Wurzburger

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