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Weekend previews: April 3-5

The skinny on Women's Tennis, baseball, softball, women's lacrosse, and indoor track and field 

Women’s Tennis

What: No. 9 Virginia (14-4, 7-2 ACC) vs. Louisville (10-11, 2-6 ACC)

When: Saturday, 11 a.m.

Where: Louisville, KY

The Skinny: Virginia (kicked off the week with a 7-0 blanking of Wake Forest, which ended a Cavaliers’ two-match losing streak. The team followed up the win with a 6-1 win over Boston College on Wednesday.

Virginia likely sits just out of reach of winning the ACC regular season of the title; however, the ACC Championships are just three weeks away. The Cavaliers have five matches remaining before postseason play begins, one of which is against No. 2 North Carolina who is undefeated in ACC play.

Three Cavaliers players are currently ranked in singles. Junior Julia Elbaba is No. 3, while juniors Danielle Collins and Stephanie Collins are No. 31 and No. 34, respectively. Additionally, freshman Cassie Mercer and junior Skylar Morton are No. 27 in doubles.

Louisville, on the other hand, has struggled in its first season as a part of the ACC, especially as of late. The Cardinals have dropped six consecutive matches heading into Saturday’s match, failing to capture more than two points in any of those matches.

Saturday’s match is set to start at 11 a.m. at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center. Live scoring will be available on VirginiaSports.com.

--Compiled by Daniel Fisher

Baseball

What: No. 9 Virginia (19-9, 6-6 ACC) vs. No. 7 Louisville (22-7, 11-1 ACC)

When: Saturday, April 4th; Sunday, April 5th; Monday, April 6th

Where: Davenport Field

The Skinny: It’s beginning to appear as if Virginia cannot buy a win at home. Thus far, the Cavaliers are 2-5 on their home field. This weekend, Virginia defends Davenport Field against conference-leading Louisville.

The Cardinals are the premier pitching team in the ACC. They lead the conference with a 2.61 ERA—26 points better than second-best Duke. The Cavaliers’ 3.10 staff ERA ranks third in conference.

Saturday’s opener should showcase two of the elite arms in college baseball as juniors Nathan Kirby and Kyle Funkhouser will square off on the mound. Funkhouser is 3-2 with a 2.40 earned run average, and his 49 strikeouts are tied for fourth-best in the ACC.

Kirby leads the conference with 62 strikeouts, and boasts four wins and a 1.01 ERA.

Virginia’s two other weekend starters—junior Brandon Waddell and sophomore Connor Jones—have been about as good as advertised. It is the Cavalier bullpen that has cost Virginia many of their games.

The bullpen is full of youth, and that has been problematic. Wednesday’s loss to VMI exemplified this. The Cavaliers used six pitchers in that game. Three—sophomore Alec Bettinger and freshmen Bennett Sousa and Adam Haseley—threw seven shutout innings. The other three—sophomore Jack Roberts and freshmen Tommy Doyle and Riley Cummins—allowed seven runs over two innings.

There are quality arms in the Cavalier bullpen, but there aren’t enough strike throwers at this time—Virginia walked 10 on Wednesday.

The offense has settled into a groove—in the six games since being shut out by Georgetown the Cavaliers have scored 84 runs. This missing piece of the puzzle remains the middle of the bullpen. How they respond to the Cardinal bats may determine the outcome of the series.

--compiled by Matthew Wurzburger

Indoor Track and Field

What: Stanford Invitational; California/Michigan

Where: Stanford, California; Berkeley, California

When: Friday, 6 pm; Saturday, 10:30 am

The Skinny: The Virginia track and field program will fly cross country to The Golden State. Junior Zach Herriot will run the 10000 m at Stanford on Friday. Last spring, Herriot competed in the 10000 m at both the ACC Outdoor Championships and NCAA East Preliminaries, where he finished 10th and 24th respectively. Absent during indoor competition, Herriot returns to action this week after a few weeks of recuperation and several months of training.

On Saturday, across San Pablo Bay at Berkeley, Herriot’s teammates will represent Virginia in a tri-meet versus two other top public institutions – UC Berkeley and Michigan. The Cavalier men – who are ranked No. 20 heading into this weekend after their strong showing at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships – have an opportunity to make a national statement against the host Golden Bears and No. 24 Wolverines.

Sophomore transfer Jordan Young will have to live up to his high standards. Young earned All-America honors with a fourth place finish in the men’s weight throw at the NCAA Indoor Championships in mid-March. This weekend Young will compete in the men’s shot put and discuss – a testament to his versatility. At the 2014 Pac 12 Championships, Young claimed third in the shot put and eighth in the discus among an elite pool of athletes.

Against the No. 17 Wolverines and the mercurial Golden Bears, the Cavalier women will rely on junior Peyton Chaney and sophomore Christine Bohan to perform at their very best. Having won the women’s 100m and 200m two weekends ago at the Virginia Cup – her only appearance thus far – Chaney heads into the weekend with supreme confidence. Her teammate Bohan – who received All-ACC honors during the indoor campaign – took first place in the women’s shot put at the Virginia Cup and last weekend in Richmond. Bohan will attempt to continue the streak in California.

--Compiled by Grant Gossage

Softball

What: Virginia Softball (9-29, 1-11 ACC) vs. Boston College (15-13, 0-6 ACC)

Where: The Park, Charlottesville, VA

When: Friday, 5:00 p.m., Saturday, 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, 12:00 p.m.

The Skinny: After sweeping Western Carolina on Tuesday, the Virginia softball team will continue its homestand as it competes in a three-game series against ACC rivals Boston College this weekend.

The Cavaliers last saw the Eagles in the concluding series of their 2014 season, in which Boston College swept the Cavaliers in Plymouth. After ending the season on a sour note at the hands of the Eagles, the Cavaliers are looking to avenge their late season losses as they look to get ahead in the conference standings with postseason hopes in mind.

Meanwhile, the Eagles are still seeking their first conference victory. Despite going 11-3 to start the season, Boston College has struggled since entering ACC play, being swept in both of its conference series against Florida State and North Carolina. After seeing their series against Louisville cancelled on March 21st, the Eagles have enjoyed a restful break, having competed in only one game since March 15. As they take on Virginia this weekend, Boston College will look to return to play with a few conference victories.

In its doubleheader against Western Carolina on Tuesday, Virginia demonstrated its promise as a team. The Formby sisters combined for two complete game wins, each only allowing one run as they were backed up by a consistent and clean defense. Virginia also showed its great offensive potential, putting up ten runs in the second game as it routed the Catamounts.

Now, Virginia will hope to build upon these gains as it looks to reliably put together all of its talent. The Cavaliers will hope to establish themselves in the ACC as they take on the Eagles this weekend.

--Compiled by Charles Siegel

Women’s lacrosse

What: No. 4 Virginia (9-4, 2-2 ACC) vs. No.17 Notre Dame (6-5, 1-3 ACC)

Where: Klöckner Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Virginia women’s lacrosse team finished non-conference play on Wednesday night with a 15-13 win over Navy. It was the team’s sixth consecutive victory.

Next up for the Cavaliers is a new conference rival. Virginia will face Notre Dame for only the second time ever on Saturday. In the inaugural matchup between the two teams last year, Virginia was able to come out of South Bend with a 13-8 victory, as Notre Dame finished its first season in the ACC with a 2-5 conference record after going 5-3 in the Big East the previous year.

After boasting an impressive win over Duke last season, Notre Dame has struggled against the top ACC teams this season, losing 17-3 and 15-6 to Duke and Boston College respectively. The Irish did have an impressive showing against North Carolina in its most recent game on Sunday, erasing a 7-1 deficit before eventually losing 9-8.

In that game, Notre Dame’s defense caused 14 of North Carolina’s 18 turnovers, which is seven more than their season average of 11.27 per game, the best in the ACC. The Notre Dame defense also commit the most fouls in the conference with 27.27 per game.

Leading that Notre Dame defense is senior defender Barbara Sullivan. Sullivan was named Preseason All-ACC and currently leads the conference in caused turnovers per game. In fact, four Notre Dame players round out the top five in that category.

On the offensive side, sophomore attacker Cortney Fortunato leads the Irish attack with 4.18 points per game, second best in the ACC.

Earlier this week, Virginia’s senior attacker Casey Bocklet and freshman goalkeeper Rachel Vander Kolk were named ACC Offensive and Defensive Players of the week. So far this week, Bocklet has tallied three goals and an assist, while Vander Kolk has recorded 12 saves in the game against Navy.


--Compiled by Chanhong Luu

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