This weekend is the mother load. Eight sports wrap up their ACC seasons with conference championships, leaving only the Baseball and Softball teams left to finish their slate. While it won’t be a season that will see 8 UVa champions crowned, the Hoos have a chance to win at least 2, with a couple more up in the air. Let’s look at all the teams competing this weekend in our HUGE ACC Championship Preview.
Track & Field
The Men’s and Women’s Track & Field teams will head to Durham to compete in the ACC Championships this weekend beginning with heats on Thursday and running through Saturday night with the awards ceremony. The odds on favorites on the men’s side is Florida State, who are looking for their 6th straight ACC title, and on the women’s side is Clemson, who are looking to defend their 2010 title. Look for the Hoos to capture a few events and send some to nationals, but that will be about it.
The Women’s Lacrosse team are seeded 6th in the ACC Tourney and will play #3 UNC on Thursday night. The Hoos lost the regular season matchup 8-7 in Chapel Hill in a well contested game. If they win they will take on #2 Duke Friday night, who defeated Virginia 11-8 at home this year. Just can’t beat those Blue Devils, huh. Finals will be Saturday if they make it that far.
By virtue of their 13-11 loss to Duke last weekend, the Hoos finished 1-2 in conference and are seeded 4th this weekend for the ACC Championships. They will face no other than #1 Duke in the Semifinals on Friday, with the winner to play the UNC/UMD winner on Sunday. If it is any consolation to Hoo fans, Virginia did beat Duke in the ACC Semis last year 16-12 after losing to the Blue Devils 13-9 during the regular season. But with all-world Steele Stanwick nursing several injuries, who knows what kind of production the Cavs can have on the offensive end.
The 21st-ranked Men’s Golf team will be paired with #75 UNC and #42 Virginia Tech this weekend in New London, NC for the ACC Championships. The favorites are #4 Georgia Tech, #16 Duke, Virginia, and #23 NC State, although several other teams sit inside the top 50, including Wake Forest and Clemson. It should be anybody's game.
Ahhh, this one should be easy. The only way the Hoos don’t win the ACC is if they are looking ahead to the NCAA Championships. They are the top seed and will face the winner of FSU and Maryland on Friday morning, both who UVa beat 7-0 this year. If the pairings pan out, the Cavs will play #4 Miami in the Semis (another 7-0 victim), and then #2 UNC, who the good guys beat 5-2 this year. Look for Virginia to come out unscathed and the top seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Women’s Team will try to use their late season momentum in the ACC Championships this weekend. Because they swept the weekend series against Clemson and Georgia Tech, they are seeded 4th for the tournament and will have a first round bye. Virginia will play the winner of FSU and Wake Forest on Friday, both teams the Hoos beat earlier this year. Looming in the Semifinals is #1 Duke (heard enough about them yet), who defeated the Cavaliers 5-2 this year. If they somehow get past them, they will play UNC or Miami, both who bested UVa by 4-3 margins. There is a chance they could win it all, but a good showing will help them a ton with the seedings for the NCAAs.
While this team does not appear to be as good as the the National Champions were last year, they are still one of the best in the nation, and will show that this weekend in Clemson for the ACC Championship. Only 6 teams from the conference have Women’s Rowing, but only Virginia (2nd) and Clemson (13th) are ranked, making it a two horse race. This should be a walk for the women, as they beat the Tigers in all four boats this past weekend in Charlottesville. This is not the end of the season for the Hoos, as they still have 3 more weeks and 3 more races before the NCAAs in Cali.
Softball vs GT
Outside of all the ACC Championships and Baseball, the Softball team is the only team left in action. Their up-and-down season has left them 21-23 on the year and 4-10 in the conference. Coming off last weekends first series win of the season versus VT, the Hoos get the best team (and the only ranked team) in the ACC, the #22 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. GT has blazed through the conference schedule with a 37-8 record and 11-1 mark in the ACC. If the Hoos take even one game this weekend, that would be a huge accomplishment.