When I interviewed him before last season, then-first year Head Coach Dennis Hohenshelt made it clear that rebuilding the program was going to be a process. He wasn't by any means putting down the young ladies on his squad. But he emphasized how much work had to be done and that that work would extend beyond year one.
This past weekend, we got our first look at how year two of Hohenshelt's tutelage would look.
So far, so good.
The Cavaliers cruised to three victories this weekend to take the annual Jefferson Cup. On Friday, they swept Marshall 3-0. On Saturday, they beat James Madison 3-1 before completing the trifecta by sweeping Montana 3-0.
Against Marshall, we saw the debut of several new players: freshmen Jasmine Burton, Haley Kole, Lexi Riccolo and Karlie Suber as well as Arizona transfer Lauren Fuller. Burton, Kole and Fuller in particular had solid first outings in the Orange and Blue. Burton led all players on both teams with 14 kills, while Fuller was second on the team with 9 digs.
The next day against James Madison, it was a junior - Tori Janowski - and a senior - Emily Rottman - who stole the show with 20 kills (almost 1/3 of the kills that Virginia had and more than 1/3 of the kills that JMU had) and 26 digs, respectively. The freshmen were right behind Janowski - Kole was second on the team (and in the game) with 15 kills and Burton was third with 12.
In the final contest against Montana, Janowski cemented herself as the early star on the team, registering a game high 21 kills to go along with five digs. Kole was second in the game with 13 kills. No Rottman again led the team with 13 digs.
Janowski was named Jefferson Cup MVP for her performance in the three games. Rottman and Fuller were also named to the All-Tournament team.
In addition to the MVP award, Janowski was also named ACC Player of the Week. She was joined in the ACC honors by Burton, who was named ACC Freshman of the Week.
The Cavaliers next head to Malibu, California for the Pepperdine tournament this coming Friday and Saturday. That will be a definite step up in competition as the host Pepperdine as well as Virginia's first-round opponent Colorado State are both receiving votes in the polls. It should be a good test to see where the Hoos really stand.