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Weekend Previews: Dec. 5-6

"The Skinny" on this weekend’s contests for swimming & diving, wrestling and women's basketball

<p>Junior George DiCamillo and his Virginia teammates wrestle  at the Cliff Keen Invitational this weekend in Las Vegas.&nbsp;</p>

Junior George DiCamillo and his Virginia teammates wrestle at the Cliff Keen Invitational this weekend in Las Vegas. 

Swimming & Diving

What: Georgia Fall Invitational

Where: Athens, Ga.

When: Friday-Sunday

The Skinny: After a month-long hiatus, the Virginia swimming and diving teams will return to action this Friday at the Georgia Fall Invitational in Athens, Ga. Hosted by the University of Georgia Bulldogs, this tournament will also include Auburn, California, Penn State, Vanderbilt and Florida State.

The No. 1 Cavalier women (3-0), who were given the top rank for the first time in program history in early November, are the favorite team in a very competitive field. Three of the teams they will face—No. 3 Georgia, No. 8 Auburn and No. 20 Penn State—are all ranked within the top 25. To ensure victory against its competition, Virginia will rely on its Golden Goggle Award winner, junior swimmer Leah Smith, as well as others, to carry their events.

Meanwhile, the Cavalier men (1-2) will look to add to their win total against an equally tough field. Facing No. 2 California, No. 4 Georgia and No. 9 Auburn, Virginia will have some extremely tough matchups this weekend. In order to have a chance against these teams, senior swimmer Yannick Kaeser and senior diver Carl Buergler—the two people who won an event for Virginia at the previous meet—need to continue their success while other team members step up to the plate as well.

—compiled by Ben Tobin

Wrestling

What: No. 19 Virginia at the Cliff Keen Invitational

Where: Cashman Center, Las Vegas, Nev.

When: Friday-Saturday

The Skinny: Virginia wrestling travels out west to the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, where they will join 11 other nationally-ranked teams. The teams will compete in a double elimination tournament, with both Friday and Saturday competition kicking off at 9 a.m. The championship round on Saturday will take place at 3 p.m.

The 11 top-25 teams featured in the open will likely result in the most challenging competition that the Cavaliers (4-2) will face until the NCAA Tournament.

The Cavaliers will be sending 10 wrestlers to the invitational, two of which are nationally ranked in their weight classes. Redshirt junior George DiCamillo is currently ranked No. 9 at 133 pounds, and senior Zach Nye is ranked No. 8 at 197 pounds. Virginia will also be sending two more wrestlers who are notably 10-1 in individual competition, redshirt sophomore Andrew Atkinson at 157 pounds, and freshman Fox Baldwin at 174 pounds.

—compiled by Mariel Messier

Women’s basketball

What: Virginia (5-3) vs. New Jersey Institute of Technology (2-4)

Where: John Paul Jones Arena

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

The Skinny: The Virginia women’s basketball team welcomes the New Jersey Institute of Technology to Charlottesville Saturday night, when the Cavaliers and Highlanders take to John Paul Jones Arena for a nonconference matchup.

Virginia fell to No. 24 Iowa Wednesday night at home despite sophomore point guard Mikayla Venson’s career-high 28 points and has now dropped three consecutive games since jumping into the season with five straight wins. NJIT, meanwhile, has lost by double figures in each of its past two road games.

The Highlanders have struggled to make shots this season, shooting just 36.8 percent from the field and 60.6 percent from the free throw line. Junior forward Leah Horton and freshman guard Kelly Guarino have shouldered the bulk of the scoring load, combining for just more than a third of NJIT’s 58.2 points per game. Guarino has been lethal from 3-point range, where she has made 20 of 36 attempts through six games.

Highlanders coach Steve Lanpher has spread out the minutes this year, with just one Highlander — junior point guard Alana Dudley — playing more than 24 minutes per game. Dudley leads her team in assists with 27 against 12 turnovers.

The Cavaliers have also shown depth early this season, with five players — led by Venson and senior guard Faith Randolph — averaging more than nine points per game. But Virginia has been outrebounded in four consecutive contests and is shooting just 27.1 percent from deep, giving coach Joanne Boyle’s team ample room for improvement.

—compiled by Matthew Morris

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