What: UCF Challenge
Where: Eagle Creek Golf Club, Orlando, Florida.
When: Feb. 8-10
The Skinny: No. 17 Virginia travels to Florida to take part in the University of Central Florida Challenge for its first tournament of the new season. Eighteen teams will compete in the tournament, 16 of which qualified for the NCAA Championships last season.
While the field is tough, no one will be tougher to overcome than the Knights, who are playing on their home course. UCF is currently ranked 21st in the nation, but is the defending champion of the tournament at both the team and individual level, as senior Fanny Cnops’s eight-under 208 was best in the field in 2014.
The Cavaliers have talented individual golfers as well. Sophomore Lauren Diaz-Yi is the highest-ranked player on Virginia’s roster, as she finished the fall season ranked No. 22 by Golfweek. She also had the best finish for Virginia at the NCAA tournament in 2014, placing 28th. The talented sophomore will need to post a solid score if Virginia hopes to knock off the defending champions.
— Compiled by Ryan Taylor
What: Virginia vs. UTEP, Utah Valley, Wisconsin
Where: Tempe Sports Complex/Farrington Stadium, Tempe, Arizona.
When: Friday, 11:00 a.m.; Saturday, 11:00 a.m.; Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
The Skinny: After a dismal 8-43 season last year, the Virginia softball team aims to start this season off right as they enter their first weekend of the regular season.
The Cavaliers will take on three teams over the course of the weekend as they compete in the Kajikawa Classic, after already playing BYU and Stanford Thursday.
First up is an unfamiliar foe, University of Texas at El Paso. The Cavaliers will compete against the Miners — who finished 17-34 last season — for the first time ever this Friday. First pitch is set to commence at 11:00 a.m.
Next, Virginia will clash against Utah Valley, another event marking the first encounter between the two teams. The Wolverines, despite finishing with an 18-42 record, contended in the 2014 NCAA Tournament and are hoping to open up their season with a win Saturday.
Lastly, the Cavaliers will compete against Wisconsin, a team they have not seen since the 2000 season. In their last encounter, the Badgers defeated Virginia 8-3. Now, the Cavaliers are hoping to show the Badgers how the team has changed since 15 years ago.
The Kajikawa Classic marks the first of three road tournaments in which Virginia will compete, the next being the NC Central from Feb. 13-15 and the Citrus Classic in Orlando from Feb. 20-22.
With five games in the tournament — three taking place this weekend — the Cavaliers are looking to set the tone for this season with a series of victories.
— Compiled by Charles Siegel
What: ITA National Women’s Tennis Indoor Team Championships
Where: Boar’s Head Sports Club
When: Feb. 6-9
The Skinny: For the fifth consecutive year, the University of Virginia and the Boar’s Head Sports Club will host the 2015 ITA National Women’s Tennis Indoor Team Championships. Virginia (4-1), entering the tournament as the No. 10 team in the nation and the No. 7 seed in the tournament, is playing in the event for the seventh straight year.
In addition to the Cavaliers, the field consists of No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 North Carolina, No. 4 Duke, No. 5 Cal, No. 7 Alabama, No. 9 Georgia, No. 11 Vanderbilt, No. 12 Miami, No. 13 Clemson, No. 14 USC, No. 15 Michigan, No. 16 Oklahoma State, No. 20 TCU and No. 26 Kentucky.
Virginia is guaranteed three matches throughout the weekend and begins play Friday night at 6:30. The winning team will advance to the second round, while the losers will drop into the consolation bracket.
Virginia is back at full strength since player illness induced setbacks earlier in the year. Nonetheless, Cavaliers have won their past two matches after falling 6-1 to No. 6 Baylor in Waco.
Matches are scheduled for 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Friday through Sunday. The championship match will take place Monday at 11 a.m. Admission is free and footage can be accessed online at virginiasports.com.
— Compiled by Daniel Fisher
Indoor Track and Field
What: Doc Hale Virginia Tech Elite Meet
Where: Blacksburg, Virginia.
When: Friday, 5 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m.
The Skinny: Two new school records and a sub-four minute mile time highlighted Virginia’s strong showing at the John Thomas Terrier Invitational in Boston, Jan. 30-31.
Senior sprinter Jordan Lavender broke her own school record in the women’s 200-meter dash with a time of 23.84 seconds. Senior sprinter Payton Hazzard set the school best in the men’s 400-meter dash, topping Kellen Blassingame’s ’06 time by .13 seconds. In distance events, sophomore Mike Marcella rose from fifth to second in the Cavalier top-mile list with his 3:59.97 finish.
Virginia field athletes — absent from Boston’s competition entirely — will return to action this weekend in Blacksburg. Sophomore Filip Mihaljevic will attempt to best his own program record in the shot put (64 feet 5 inches), which he set two weeks ago in Lexington, Kentucky. Meanwhile, sophomore Jordan Young will look to reclaim the shot put record he lost to Mihaljevic in Lexington.
Although Lavender, Hazzard, Marcella, Mihaljevic and Young have received much of the attention and praise so far this season, results continually show the depth of the Virginia track and field program. If history repeats itself, expect more school records and top-10 finishes to shape next week’s recap of the Doc Hale VT Elite Meet.
— Compiled by Grant Gossage
Swim and Dive
What: Cavalier Diving Invitational and Virginia Tech Invitational
Where: Diving in the Aquatic and Fitness Center; Swimming in the Christiansburg Aquatic Center
When: Diving on Saturday, 12 p.m.; Swimming on Saturday and Sunday
The Skinny: The Virginia swim and dive teams will compete one final time this weekend before the championship season begins. The Virginia divers will stay home and host the Cavalier Diving Invitational, while both the Cavalier men (1-5, 0-2 ACC) and No. 9 Lady Cavaliers (3-2, 1-1 ACC) will head south to Christiansburg, Virginia to participate in the Virginia Tech Invitational with the Hokies, Penn State, Towson, the College of Charleston and the Arkansas women.
The Virginia men’s divers will be led by senior JB Kolod, who was awarded ACC male diver of the week for his efforts at the Georgia Fall Invitational in December where he broke the program record on the platform event with a score of 404.60. The three-time All-American also holds the program’s best marks in the 1-meter and 3-meter events.
On the women’s side, junior Becca Corbett has stolen the spotlight this season. She held the program’s best scores on the 1-meter and platform events entering the year, and claimed the program record on the 3-meter springboards from teammate junior Katie Warburg against Virginia Tech.
Meanwhile, the Cavalier swim teams will field a skeleton crew at Virginia Tech. Similar to the Cavalier Invitational a year ago, only the Virginia athletes who did not qualify for the conference team will compete.
The women’s ACC Championships will be held Feb. 18-21, while the men’s conference championship meet will run Feb. 25-28.
— Compiled by Robert Elder
What: No. 12 Virginia (10-4, 2-1 ACC) at North Carolina (8-4, 0-2 ACC)
Where: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
The Skinny: The Cavaliers travel to Chapel Hill for a Saturday night fight with ACC bottom feeder North Carolina.
Virginia dropped a heartbreaking match against ninth-ranked Virginia Tech Sunday, 18-16. Once again, the contest was not decided until the final bout. Second-ranked senior Nick Sulzer needed a pinfall victory to give the Cavaliers the win via tie-break criteria, but he could only muster a major decision.
The Tar Heels are not a team to overlook. They have two victories against top-25 teams — No. 20 Chattanooga on Dec. 14 and No. 25 Rider on Jan. 25. Their two conference losses were against then-No. 9 Pittsburgh and a solid NC State.
Two North Carolina wrestlers are ranked in the latest InterMat poll. Sophomores Joey Ward and Ethan Ramos sit 19th at 141 pounds and 15th at 165 pounds, respectively.
Motivated by a the loss to Virginia Tech last weekend, Virginia wrestling should dispatch the Tar Heels comfortably.
— Compiled by Matthew Wurzburger