Recently, Virginia Athletics, the ACC and the NCAA officially canceled the remainder of the 2020 season for all spring and winter sports due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For Virginia, this news affects 15 different teams across three winter sports — men’s basketball, swimming and diving and wrestling — and seven spring sports — baseball, golf, lacrosse, rowing, softball, tennis and outdoor track and field. While these teams weren’t able to finish their years, let’s take a look at how they were doing before their seasons were cut short.
Men’s basketball (23-7, 15-5 ACC)
Men’s basketball caught fire toward the end of the season, fueling an eight-game winning streak against conference opponents — including major victories against ranked Duke and Louisville. But to the disappointment of many Virginia fans, the ACC tournament was canceled before the Cavaliers could play their first postseason matchup against Notre Dame, and March Madness was canceled shortly after. However, multiple players earned honors this season — senior forward Mamadi Diakite earned NABC All-District 2 second-team and All-ACC second-team honors, sophomore guard Kihei Clark was named to the All-ACC third team and senior guard Braxton Key earned an ACC honorable mention.
Men’s swimming and diving
Men’s swimming and diving placed second at the ACC Championships with 1098 points, led by senior swimmer Ted Schubert, who captured both the 200 and 400-yard medley. Seven Virginia athletes qualified for the 2020 NCAA Championships scheduled to take place March 25-28, in addition to qualifying for four relay events in the national meet. Sophomore Walker Creedon also placed first at the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships to qualify for the NCAAs.
Women’s swimming and diving
The Virginia women’s swimming and diving team won its 16th ACC Championship in February, posting the best score in meet history with 1492.5 points. Junior Paige Madden scored 96 points and secured five titles in the meet to be named the Most Valuable Swimmer at the ACC Championships. The women’s diving team also stole the first three places at the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships. Divers that placed in the top 12 spots at the zone meet and met the zone qualify score were set to compete in the NCAA Championships, which were scheduled to take place March 18-21.
Wrestling (8-6, 1-4 ACC)
The Cavaliers totaled 60.5 points to place fourth at the ACC Tournament this year. Before the season was cut short, junior Jay Aiello and senior Jack Mueller were both ranked top-10 seeds in their weight classes in the NCAA Wrestling Championships. No. 4 seed Mueller went 13-1 and finished runner-up at the ACC Championships during his final year of eligibility, but will miss the opportunity to compete for the 2020 national title after finishing runner-up in last season’s NCAA Championships. In addition, junior Louie Hayes, redshirt freshman Justin McCoy, sophomore Cam Coy and sophomore Quinn Miller were all set to appear in the NCAA tournament.
Baseball (14-4, 2-1 ACC)
Coming off a 15-game home stand, the Cavaliers were poised to continue a strong season. Before its run was cut short, Virginia had secured a 2-1 series over NC State, a 3-1 series over Bucknell and series sweeps over Dartmouth and UMass Lowell at Disharoon Park. The team had already recorded 22 homers — compared to a season total of 28 in 2019. Eight players averaged over .300 at the plate, and freshman outfielder Chris Newell was slated to have an incredible first season — averaging .407 with a .545 on-base percentage and four home runs.
Virginia men’s golf shot 9-under 279 to record its most impressive single-round score this season, with all four players finishing under par in the final round, to finish 10th at the Burns Intercollegiate in late February. In their final tournament of the season, freshman Pietro Bovari led the Cavaliers to a second place finish at the Palmetto Intercollegiate.
In a standout performance in February, women’s golf won the IJGA Collegiate Invitational with an exciting comeback in the final nine holes. Sophomore Riley Smyth and junior Beth Lillie led the charge as the Cavaliers finished just two shots ahead of LSU in the 54-hole event. Virginia wrapped up its season at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate with a 17th place finish. Freshman Virginia Bossi placed 23rd at 9-over 222 in the tournament.
Men’s lacrosse (4-2, 0-0 ACC)
After securing the national title last year, the No. 8 men’s lacrosse team was on track for another successful season behind its returning stars. Virginia recorded wins against No. 14 Loyola and No. 18 Lehigh to open the season before falling to Princeton 16-12. Junior attacker Matt Moore and senior attacker Michael Kraus were leading the team with 19 and 14 goals, respectively. In their final game, the Cavaliers fell 14-13 to Brown despite Moore’s career-high seven goals and 10 points.
Women’s lacrosse (5-3, 0-2 ACC)
No. 17 women’s lacrosse opened the season with four wins against No. 15 Navy, No. 20 Stanford, California Berkely and No. 9 Princeton. Senior midfielder Sammy Mueller was set to have a tremendous final season, leading with 21 goals and seven assists. In its final contest, Virginia suffered a difficult loss to No. 23 Duke, who scored the last three goals of the game to seal a 16-10 victory.
The Cavaliers had yet to begin their spring schedule, as the team’s first race was scheduled for March 14 at the Oak Ridge Invite. However, after winning 19 of the last 20 ACC championships and finishing 10th place at the NCAA Championships last season, the team was likely on its way to another successful season under Coach Kevin Sauer.
Softball (10-12, 0-6 ACC)
Sophomore catcher Donna Friedman led the team batting .324 with three home runs in 71 at-bats. On the mound, sophomore Aly Rayle pitched over 57 innings with a 2.91 ERA and 74 strikeouts. The Cavaliers suffered disappointing series sweeps against Clemson and No. 9 Virginia Tech, but rallied to close out the season at Palmer Park with two wins against Bucknell.
Men’s tennis (11-4, 2-1 ACC)
Virginia recorded its sixth straight win against William and Mary in a 7-0 shutout at the Snyder Tennis Center before the remainder of its season was canceled. The doubles duo of sophomore Ryan Goetz and junior Gianni Ross finished at 4-1 this season while seniors Ammar Alhaqbani and Carl Soderlund improved to 17-3 and 7-2 in singles in their final seasons, respectively.
Women’s tennis (10-5, 4-3 ACC)
No. 13 women’s tennis secured five straight wins to start the season but were outmatched by No. 9 Georgia, No. 17 Pepperdine, No. 10 Georgia Tech and No. 1 North Carolina. Virginia also fell 4-3 in its final match against No. 4 Florida State. No. 10 freshman Natasha Subhash ended the season 26-6 in singles and 11-4 on court one while No. 86 sophomore Sofia Munera picked up 10 dual match wins and improved to 21-11 on the season.
Men’s track and field
The Virginia men finished third in the ACC Indoor Championships. Senior Jordan Scott and sophomore Owayne Owens earned spots in the triple jump in the NCAA Championships set to take place March 13-14 while senior Brenton Foster was set to compete in the high jump for the third time in his career. In addition to winning his third ACC indoor triple jump title, Scott was also named a U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Southeast Region honoree and USTFCCCA Southeast Region Indoor Field Athlete of the Year.
Women’s track and field
The women’s team was led by seniors Andrenette Knight and Anna Jefferson at the ACC Indoor Championship. The two placed fourth and fifth in the 400 meters, picking up second-team All-ACC honors. Virginia was also set to send two athletes to the NCAA Championship meet in freshman Jada Seaman and junior Khyasia Caldwell, who would have competed in the long jump as the six and 16th seeds, respectively.
With all the chaos of a nationwide pandemic, it’s important to recognize how athletes — who trained relentlessly to prepare for their season — have been affected. Before their seasons were cut short, all Virginia teams were striving for excellence in their respective sports and they will continue to work hard to get back on track following these challenging times.