Weekend Previews: April 10-12

The Skinny on weekend action for the Virginia baseball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, rowing and men’s lacrosse teams

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Now a junior, lefty Nathan Kirby is bringing it once again. He has a 1.94 ERA, best on the Virginia staff, and 69 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched. 

Mitchell Vaughn | Cavalier Daily

Men’s Lacrosse

What: No. 7 Virginia (8-3, 0-3 ACC) at No. 9 Duke (7-4, 0-3 ACC)

Where: Koskinen Stadium in Durham, North Carolina

When: Sunday, 12 p.m.

The Skinny: Sunday, two ACC teams without an in-conference victory will play to cut that number to one. Coming off a 10-6 loss at the hands of No. 8 North Carolina, the No. 7 Cavaliers will march into Koskinen Stadium and attempt to hand No. 9 Duke its fourth defeat in a row.

Since narrowly defeating then-unranked Georgetown, the Blue Devils have suffered consecutive losses against No. 2 Syracuse, No. 8 North Carolina and No. 1 Notre Dame. Last year’s national champions will be desperate to get back to their winning ways.

After beating No. 15 Johns Hopkins, the Cavaliers walloped both VMI and Richmond before having their streak cut short against North Carolina. The Tar Heels outlasted Virginia in a defensive battle that showed a 4-3 scoreline at the half. Three goals came off the stick of junior midfielder Greg Coholan, who leads the Cavaliers in goals and points with 29 and 37, respectively.

Although Virginia is shooting 36 percent this season, fourth highest in Division I, the Cavaliers had trouble finding the back of the net against the Tar Heels. Despite putting 18 shots on cage, Virginia was allowed few high quality looks by the North Carolina defense and shot just 17 percent on the game.

Despite being 1-3 against top-10 opponents this year, the Blue Devils, led by freshman attackman Justin Guterding, boast one of the best offenses in Division I. Guterding has been scoring at a rate of 3.09 goals per game and leads Duke in goals with 34. However, while Duke has been prolific on offense this season, the defense has struggled to find its groove.

The Blue Devil defense ranks 59th nationally in goals allowed per game at 12.27. Duke’s starting goalie, junior Luke Aaron, sits at 53rd in saves per game with 8.3. The team’s backup net-minder, sophomore Danny Fowler, has seen action in nine games this year and is dead last in saves per game with 3.67 on 33 shots.

The Blue Devils’ defensive woes should allow the Cavalier offense to hum at its regular high efficiency as Virginia looks for its first victory over Duke since 2010.

—compiled by Jordan Bernstein

Softball

What: Virginia (12-31, 3-12 ACC) vs. North Carolina State (23-15, 7-5 ACC)

Where: The Park

When: Saturday, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m.

The Skinny: Momentum is a powerful force when it comes to winning or losing. The Virginia softball team will look to use its momentum in its favor when it competes in a three-game series against ACC rival North Carolina State this weekend.

The Cavaliers have now won five out of their last seven games as part of a 12-game homestand, and this weekend’s conference games represent a critical series in Virginia’s quest for a postseason berth.

Virginia is coming right off a no-hitter and 5-2 win against Virginia Tech in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader. Freshman pitcher Alex Formby threw three strong innings without allowing a hit before freshman pitcher Andie Formby relieved her and finished the game to complete the no-hitter. It was the first combined no-hitter in school history.

Meanwhile, the Wolfpack are coming off a win in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader at East Carolina. The second game of the series was cancelled due to inclement weather. NC State has enjoyed relatively successful conference play this season and will be aiming to accumulate even more ACC victories this weekend.

The two teams’ last encounter resulted in a sweep by the Wolfpack over the Cavaliers early last season. NC State owns a 22-14 record against Virginia and has won their last seven meetings, but the Cavaliers will aim to even the score and continue accumulating ACC series wins after earning their only three this season within this past week against Boston College and Virginia Tech.

First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday.

—compiled by Chuck Siegel

Baseball

What: No. 15 Virginia (20-12, 6-9 ACC) vs. Georgia Tech (22-11, 7-8 ACC)

When: Friday-Sunday

Where: Russ Chandler Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia

The Skinny: At the midway point of the conference slate, both Virginia and Georgia Tech find themselves looking up at 11th-ranked Miami — the only Atlantic Division team above .500. Below the Hurricanes is a pack of four teams within a game of each other, the Cavaliers and the Yellow Jackets included.

With eyes focused on the ACC Tournament, the upcoming weekend series between Virginia and Georgia Tech will ultimately go far in determining seeding in the conference’s championship — the Cavaliers currently sit one game behind the Yellow Jackets in the standings.

Inconsistency has characterized Virginia’s season thus far, and this extends to conference play. The Cavaliers took two out of three against Pittsburgh in their conference opener, but followed that up by being swept up by Virginia Tech on the road. Later in the season, the team convincingly took all three games from Notre Dame, but was completely outplayed by sixth-ranked Louisville the following week.

Friday could be the chance for Virginia to begin an extended conference winning streak. It enters the weekend riding the momentum of a 14-1 drubbing of James Madison Wednesday night.

However, it will not be easy. The Yellow Jackets boast the fourth-highest batting average in the ACC, and should test a weekend rotation that struggled for large parts of the Louisville series — Cavalier starters took two of the three losses against the Cardinals.

Freshman Kel Johnson leads the Georgia Tech batters. His .379 average is the best on the team, and he is hitting a scorching .457 during conference action. Behind Johnson are four additional Yellow Jackets who are hitting over .300 in ACC play.

But joining Johnson and company is a starting rotation the Cavalier bats can attack — the staff ERA rests at 4.25 against ACC opponents. If Virginia’s pitching falters, its bats should be able to keep the team in games.

A series sweep or series win would breathe new life into the Cavaliers, who could emerge as the favorite to occupy the second spot behind the Hurricanes in the Atlantic.

—compiled by Matthew Wurzburger

Women’s Tennis

What: No. 12 Virginia (15-4, 8-2 ACC) at No. 2 North Carolina (23-0, 11-0 ACC); at Georgia Tech (10-7, 6-4 ACC)

Where: Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia

When: Friday, 3 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m.

The Skinny: The No. 12 Virginia women’s tennis team will play two ranked ACC opponents on the road this weekend as the regular season winds down.

Friday, Virginia (15-4, 8-2) will travel to No. 2 North Carolina. The Tar Heels (23-0, 11-0) have cruised through ACC play undefeated with only one close call in a 4-3 win over Clemson March 27.

North Carolina has all six singles players ranked, highlighted by No. 6 sophomore Jamie Loeb, No. 14 sophomore Haley Carter and No. 19 senior Caroline Price. All three of the team’s doubles pairs are ranked as well, including Loeb and Price at No. 7.

The Cavaliers are 13-37 all-time against North Carolina. However, Virginia entered this match in a similar underdog position two years ago. In 2013, the Cavaliers took down then-No. 1 North Carolina in dual-match play. The victory was the team’s first ever against a top-ranked opponent.

Sunday, Virginia will play at No. 36 Georgia Tech, a team against whom they grabbed two wins last season. The Yellow Jackets (10-7, 6-4) enter the match on a roll, having won five of their last six matches.

Friday’s match in Chapel Hill, North Carolina is set to begin at 3 p.m. The Georgia Tech match is slated to start at 12 p.m. Both matches can be followed with live scoring on VirginiaSports.com.

—compiled by Daniel Fisher

Men’s Tennis

What: No. 4 Virginia (16-3, 8-0 ACC) vs. Georgia Tech (11-8, 3-5 ACC); vs. No. 28 Louisville (22-5, 6-3 ACC)

Where: Snyder Tennis Center

When: Friday, 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.

The Skinny: Riding a season-long seven-match winning streak, the Virginia men’s tennis team takes on Georgia Tech and Louisville this weekend at Snyder Tennis Center in its last home matches of the year. The No. 4 Cavaliers have not lost since March 10, when the team came up just short in a 4-3 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma.

No. 22 senior Mitchell Frank, competing at home for the last time Sunday, will be honored Friday between doubles and singles. The Annandale, Virginia native has starred for Virginia since his first collegiate season, when he was named ITA National Freshman of the Year and an ITA All-American.

As a sophomore, Frank clinched Virginia’s first-ever NCAA Championship with a 0-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory against UCLA then-junior Adrien Puget at No. 3 singles. Last year, he won the ITA All-American singles title, was named the ACC Men’s Tennis Scholar Athlete of the Year and received ITA All-American recognition for the second time. Frank is 12-2 in singles for Virginia this season, including 5-0 at the No. 2 slot.

But Frank has hardly been Virginia’s only standout. Junior Ryan Shane and sophomore Thai-Son Kwiatkowski are No. 3 and No. 14, respectively, in the latest ITA rankings. Shane and sophomore Luca Corinteli reached a career-best No. 4 in the April 7 ITA doubles rankings.

Georgia Tech opened ACC play with back-to-back wins but has since dropped five of seven matches. 6-foot-7 No. 54 freshman Christopher Eubanks leads the Yellow Jackets in singles, while No. 67 sophomore Carlos Benito and senior Eduardo Segura headline the doubles pairings.

No. 28 Louisville, meanwhile, has won eight of nine matches since a 7-0 loss to Wake Forest in mid-March. Now-No. 8 senior Sebastian Stiefelmeyer started the dual-match season tops in the nation in singles and is 18-2 at the No. 1 slot. No. 56 juniors Jeffrey Brown and Alex Gornet lead the Cardinals in doubles.

—compiled by Matthew Morris

Rowing

What: No. 4 Virginia at the Class of 1975 Cup: No. 8 Princeton, No. 13 Radcliffe and Cornell

Where: Lake Carnegie, Princeton, New Jersey

When: Saturday, all day

The Skinny: The No. 4 Virginia rowing team is coming off a strong showing last week, having won 10 races at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Lake Monticello. The team hopes to build on its momentum when it faces perennial Ivy League powerhouses No. 8 Princeton, No. 13 Radcliffe (Harvard) and Cornell this weekend. This is the first time the Cavaliers have rowed in the Class of 1975 Cup, a 39 year-old race. Princeton is the reigning champion and has won 25 of the 36 Class of 1975 Cup regattas, while Radcliffe has been victorious 13 times and Cornell once.

Virginia’s Varsity Eight will continue to challenge themselves leading up to the ACC and NCAA Championships next month. They will have a major test against Princeton, who beat common opponent No. 7 Michigan – a crew that the Cavaliers narrowly lost to by 13 tenths of a second last weekend (6.22.36-6:22.49). Radcliffe had no first-place finishes last weekend against No. 2 Brown, while unranked Cornell was defeated by No. 9 Yale in its first regatta of the season.

The Cavaliers’ Second, Third and Fourth Varsity Eight boats as well as all of the Varsity Four boats had strong showings last weekend at home against both No. 1 Ohio State and No. 7 Michigan. These crews also hope to capitalize on their momentum this weekend in New Jersey.

—compiled by Alix Glynn

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