This weekend was a huge indicator of which teams are still in contention for NCAA title and which teams are squarely on the outside looking in. For the Baseball and Men’s Tennis teams, they showed that if there is ever a year to break through for that elusive championship, this is that year. For the Men’s Lacrosse and Rowing teams, well, it just won’t be their year. Here is what went down this weekend.
First let’s talk about the weekend series with Duke. Virginia took care of business with a series sweep of Duke, although they ran into a slight problem on Sunday. Game one was a walk, as Hultzen went 7 innings, giving up 4 hits, 0 runs, and striking out 9 en route to a 10-0 win. Now the second game found the Hoos’ bats ice cold, leaving 13 runners on base. But Wilson kept the Cavs in the game by going 7 2/3 and K-ing 10 while only allowing 2 runs, and taking a 2-2 game into extra innings. In the 11th inning, John Hicks singled and knocked in John Barr to win 3-2. The 3rd game saw the bats come alive again with a 9 run third inning and a 5 run 4 to give the Cavaliers a 18-4 win. Side note, all five Duke pitchers in the third game gave up at least 1 earned run.
Even more exciting for the Hoos is they got a lot of help from the rest of the ACC. Virginia now leads the the Coastal Division (and the ACC) by two games, after Georgia Tech dropped a game to Wake Forrest on Saturday. Miami jumped UNC for 3rd as they took 2 of 3 from Maryland and UNC got swept by NC State. So now the Hoos are 2 games up on the Jackets, 2 1/2 games on the Canes, and 4 games on UNC. FSU also fell back one game to 5 back as they lost one to Virginia Tech. The Hoos have two non-conference games at Radford and home against Richmond, before a now-bigger-than-last-week matchup against NC State at home.
It was business as usual for the Men’s Tennis team this weekend as they closed out the regular season undefeated with wins over #62 Clemson and #15 Georgia Tech with 6-1 wins. So the Hoos are the #1 seed for the tournament next weekends ACC Championship and will play the winner of the Florida State/Maryland game in the second round (both teams UVa beat 7-0 this year). Virginia will be the odds on favorite to win as they have not dropped more than 2 points to any conference team all year.
On the stat sheet, the Hoos looked like they played Duke tight, but Duke got a majority of their goals early and had this one wrapped early as they beat Virginia....again....13-11. So the Hoos, who looked like national contenders about a month ago after beating Cornell, have lost 3 of 5 games and finish LAST in the ACC. So they get, yep, Duke in the ACC Semis on Friday. We won’t even look past that as the game is in Durham and it’s just not our season. And since the ACC has no automatic berths to the NCAA tournament, they will have to pull out the miracle this weekend and then rout Penn the following weekend to wrap up an at large berth.
While their stranglehold on the ACC looks certain after besting #13 Clemson this weekend, their national title aspirations don’t look as strong as they did last year. #3 USC won 2 of 3 races from the Hoos by big margins. Couple the fact that they have already lost to then-#4 Stanford and the nationals are in California, it looks like they could place well, but defending their title would be a long shot.
This weekend was the ACC tournament and the #6 Hoos (+51) finished 3rd behind #23 UNC (+23) and #5 Duke (+47). The Tarheels led this one from start to finish and the Cavs had to hold off a late charge by #16 Wake Forest to capture third. Individually, the highest finishing Hoos finished T7 (Brittany Altomare). The Hoos will now head to the NCAA Regionals in 3 weeks.
Probably the biggest winners of the weekend was the Women's Tennis team, as they defeated #12 Clemson 4-3 and #13 Georgia Tech 6-1 to wrap up the regular season. The Hoos have broken their record for most ACC wins in a season (7) and tied their mark for most overall wins in a season (18). To make the two wins sweeter, they moved into a tie for fourth with FSU to end the ACC season, and since they beat the Noles 5-2 earlier this year, they will have a first round by in the ACC Tourney next weekend. By the way, the Cavs have defeated both FSU and Wake this year already, either of who would be their Quarterfinal opponent.