Do you have no idea of what you want for Christmas? Do you cheer for Virginia sports? If the answer to both of those questions was yes, then this list will help ensure that you have a jolly Christmas in 2019.
1. A big-time win over Virginia Tech in the Commonwealth Cup
Christmas came early in a huge way this year, with one of the gifts already delivered. For the first time since 2003, Virginia defeated Virginia Tech 39-30 and secured a spot in the ACC championship game against Clemson. The Cavaliers condemned the Hokies to the naughty list, delivering their coal in the form of a brutal loss.
2. De’Andre Hunter Rookie of the Year Award
Former guard De’Andre Hunter will forever be a Virginia legend after his 27-point performance against Texas Tech in the NCAA Championship last year. He has carried over his success for the Cavaliers into his NBA career, averaging 11.9 points for the Atlanta Hawks after 20 games. He’s not only a potent scorer at the next level but a defensive force as well. The Rookie of the Year award is attainable for Hunter, but he could always use some Christmas magic.
3. The return of sophomore defender Cade Saustad
Saustad was one of the men’s lacrosse team’s defensive leaders during last year’s championship run. Despite being a true freshman, Saustad routinely dominated elite, more experienced competition on his way to earning Freshman All-American and All-Tournament honors. However, his status for this season is up in the air as he recently suffered a foot injury. Should he recover in time for the season opener, it would be the equivalent of a Christmas miracle for the Cavaliers.
4. A ticket to March Madness
The Virginia women’s basketball team has one of its most talented rosters in recent years. The Cavaliers boast one of the most highly-touted recruits in the nation in freshman guard Carole Miller — a former four-star prospect. This squad is much deeper than last year’s which finished the ACC tournament with only seven healthy players on the roster. With far more depth and a rejuvenated group of players, finding a tournament bid under the tree is very possible.
5. Eligibility for Sam Hauser
Senior forward Sam Hauser was one of Marquette’s top scorers last season, averaging 14.9 points per game while knocking down 40.2 percent of his three-point attempts. Unfortunately, the talented transfer was ruled ineligible to play for the 2019-20 season due to NCAA transfer regulations. This may be the gift that even Santa can’t provide as the NCAA — like the Grinch stealing Christmas — has taken away Hauser’s ability to play for the Cavaliers this season. One can only imagine what a pairing of senior forward Mamadi Diakite and Hauser could accomplish if he were eligible.
6. Top finish in NCAA Outdoor Championships
Track and Field
The Virginia track and field teams performed well at last year’s NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, with the men’s team finishing 18th overall and the women finishing 20th. However, the recent hiring of Vin Lananna as director of Track and Field and Cross Country pushes expectations to another level. After seeing the improvement of Virginia cross country this season, Lananna should have a similar impact on the track and field program. If the Cavaliers can build upon last year’s run, a stellar performance in the Outdoor Championships could be on the horizon.
7. A lump of coal for Clemson
Virginia football will face Clemson Saturday for the ACC Championship. The Cavaliers have had one of their best seasons in recent memory, silencing many of their doubters. Virginia is currently ranked No. 22 in the nation with room to overstep multiple teams ahead of them. An upset of the third-ranked Tigers would help push the Cavaliers into the upper echelon of college football and gain the respect of the nation. Hopefully, Coach Bronco Mendenhall and the Cavaliers can ride Santa’s sleigh all the way to a conference title.
8. Dancing Lessons
This year’s Virginia men’s basketball team lacks what was arguably the best trio in program history in Hunter, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy. That, however, should not stop Cavalier fans asking for another deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Virginia returns key players in senior guard Braxton Key and Diakite and has received an influx of young talent. Hopefully, Santa can fit a Final Four appearance at the big dance in his bag this year.
9. A Happy New Year’s Six bowl
Virginia fans will want more than just a merry Christmas this year as an opportunity to play on college football’s biggest stage looms. The Cavaliers can establish themselves as a national powerhouse. An appearance in a New Year’s Six bowl and, hopefully, a victory could push the program to the top. While a bowl win would be a lot to ask for, New Year’s is exactly the time for some wishful thinking.
10. A soccer star on top of the tree
The Virginia men’s soccer team is currently on an eight-game win streak going into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers are the No. 1 seed in the tournament with 19 wins on their resume. Bringing home an eighth national championship would deck the Virginia halls with even more prestige.