Congratulations, Wahoos. You made it. The 58 day gap between the end of baseball season (too soon...too soon) and the beginning of fall sports seemed like a dark, endless abyss at times, but the light at the end of the tunnel has arrived.
Let's get to the goodness.
Women's soccer kicked off the fall season with three straight convincing wins. Ranked No.3 nationally, the Cavaliers demolished Marshall 3-0, Richmond 4-0, and Villanova 5-0. Against Richmond on Friday, third year Brittany Ratcliffe notched two goals while fourth year Danielle Colaprico contributed two assists.
In the Sunday drubbing of Villanova, third year Makenzy Doniak and Ratcliffe were quite the complimentary pair. The duo collaborated on three straight goals with Doniak scoring two and assisting one, while Ratcliffe tapped in one of her own and assisted both of Doniak's. Virginia outshot the Wildcats in the match 27-0. Next up for the ladies is a road trip to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama this Friday at 8pm. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network Plus, and WatchESPN, so check it out.
The No.6 Women's Field Hockey team took to the turf Friday evening against in-state rival William and Mary. The Hoos controlled the game from the start, cruising to a 9-0 win behind four assists from first year Tara Vittese. Virginia outshot the Tribe 25-1, and first year Emilie van Zinnicq Bergmann scored her first two collegiate goals in the match. Lucy Hyams and Riley Tata also contributed two goals to the cause. The Hoos travel to Iowa on September 4 to try and recover from their Sunday stumble at Penn State.
Not to be outdone, Virginia Volleyball opened their 2014 campaign with three straight wins over the University of Illinois-Chicago (3-1), Eastern Michigan (3-1), and Marshall (3-0). 6'2" third year Kayla Sears leads the team with 42 kills. The Wahoos host the Cavalier Classic at Mem Gym starting Friday, with Virginia taking on LIU at 7pm. Get out and get loud!
Virginia Men's Soccer, ranked No.3 just like their female compatriots, opened their season in a dramatic fashion with a 1-0 overtime victory over No.25 Old Dominion on Friday evening. Despite outshooting the Monarchs 20-9 (and 15-5 in the second half and OT), the Hoos needed a worm burner from fourth year Ryan Zinkhan to nab the win. Next up, the Cavaliers head to the Tulsa Tournament to play the host team Friday, 5 September, at 8:30pm ET.
Here's Zinkhan's heroic shot in super slo-mo:
Finally, football. Ahhh, football. While the outcome was significantly better than the "experts" or Vegas had predicted, it stings to know that the victory was sooooo close. However, there are A LOT of things to be optimistic about going forward in the season.
Matt Johns. What a breath of fresh air. The second year back up QB came in to the game down 21-3 and with his second pass, did this:
Johns finished 13-22 (59%) for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
The receiving corps was not too shabby, either. Andre Levrone, on the receiving end of the aforementioned TD lob, finished with three receptions for 75 yards. Canaan Severin had five receptions for 55 yards, and Darius Jennings three receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown.
The offense was also 2 of 3 on 4th down conversions and the questioned offensive line protected the Virginia QB, giving up no sacks.
Alec Vozenilek, arguably last season's MVP, had a solid game amassing 322 yards on seven punts. He averaged 46 yards per punt, with a long of 53.
Now for the defense. Man, what can you say about those guys that will fully do their performance justice? As a unit, they hounded Brett Hundley mercilessly, sacking him 5 times for 21 yards. Second year OLB Max Valles accounted for two of those sacks, and contributed six total tackles on the afternoon.
Anthony Harris patrolled the secondary like a hawk with five solo tackles and ten total tackles to go along with his one pass break up. His open field tackles were impressive, and his skills picked up where he left off last year.
Frequently throughout the afternoon on Saturday, first year Quin Blanding's name boomed loud and clear throughout Scott Stadium as the much heralded safety made four solo tackles and nine total bring downs. His first time in orange and blue was impressive, and Wahoo fans should look forward to more great things from him.
My MVP, however, has to be Henry Coley. The senior middle linebacker did it all for Virginia. He had nine solo tackles, two for sacks, and five group take downs to go with one broken up pass. Coley seemed to be everywhere, wreaking havoc and predicting UCLA's actions.
Next up, Virginia hosts Richmond at 3:30 on Saturday at Scott Stadium. Come support the team, because it means a lot to the guys on the field.
Thanks to all the fans and the student body for rocking the stadium today @UVaHooCrew ! Love you guys— Max Valles (@big_black5) August 30, 2014
As an added bonus, the 2014 ACC Champion (THAT NEVER GETS OLD) Men's Basketball team were on hand for recognition with their new rings and the ACC hardware. That included a surprise visit from everyone's favorite grads: Akil Mitchell and Joe Harris (#SWOON)!!
And of course...Go Hoos!