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Monday Motivation is full of football highlights (and other stuff)

NCAA Football: Virginia at Duke Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Monday, which can hit harder than an unblocked Jordan Mack.

…but luckily we have some Monday Motivation to get you through the day. Let’s look at the past week of Virginia sport successes!

Rapid Fire

- Men’s Soccer had a productive week with a pummeling 4-0 win over Cornell and a nil-nil tie with No. 18 Virginia Tech.

Against Cornell, the Hoos outshot the Big Red 11-5, with nine of those shots going on cage. Paddy Foss, Wesley Wade, Sergi Nus, and the Cornell defense all scored for the Cavaliers, leaving no doubt in the game’s outcome.

Virginia welcomed the Hokies to Charlottesville for a tense, scoreless tie that earned both sides a half of a point in the Commonwealth Clash. The game pushes Virginia’s unbeaten streak against Virginia Tech to 12 games, so basically we can say they haven’t beaten us in football in 12 tries. Fair’s fair.

The Hoos are now 4-2-3 (0-2-2 ACC) on the season and will welcome Hofstra on Tuesday before heading to No.4 UNC on Friday in an attempt at their first conference win.

- No. 12 Field Hockey picked up a couple of wins this week with a 4-2 victory over No. 16 Wake Forest and a 2-0 shutout of No. 14 Old Dominion.

Lucy Hyams scored two goals against the Demon Deacons, bringing her season total to five goals. Tara Vittese, who leads the Wahoos in goals this season, added a goal and an assist. Caleigh Foust used an acrobatic diving move on the turf to give Virginia a 2-1 lead, one that the Hoos wouldn’t relinquish.

Against Old Dominion, the Virginia defense not only kept the Monarchs off the scoreboard, but they didn’t even let them take a shot on goal. Riley Tata and Tara Vittese scored for the Hoos in the win.

Next up, the Hoos hit the road to take on No. 2 North Carolina on Friday.

  • No. 7 Women’s Soccer hosted No. 16 North Carolina in an ACC battle televised by ESPNU that ended in a double-overtime 1-1 tie. Alexis Shaffer struck first for the Cavaliers, but the Tar Heels got the equalizer in the 82nd minute to force overtime. The Hoos are now 8-2-2 (1-1-2 ACC) on the season and host Pitt on Thursday.

A familiar face was on hand for the game with USWNT and Olympic superstar Morgan Brian returning to sign autographs.

- Virginia running backs Albert Reid and Smoke Mizzell applied for graduation this week.

Crushing it on and off the field.

- Everyone amped for basketball? The season officially started last Friday.

How bout now? Amped now?

- Former Virginia Men’s Lacrosse Coach Dom Starsia was honored on Thursday night in New York City for his support of Harlem Lacrosse.

Coach Starsia, who is an Executive Board member of Harlem Lacrosse, is just one of several Virginia-related folks that are active with the charity organization. New head coach Lars Tiffany is involved with the group, and former UVA lacrosse players Wyatt Melzer and Owen Van Arsdale have been/are Program Directors for the group.

Members of the 2003, 2006, and 2011 national championship teams were in attendance to see Coach Starsia get recognized, as well as former Wahoos Patrick Kerney (lax and football) and his wife Lisa Kerney, who is a SportsCenter anchor.

- Congrats to Jarmere Jenkins and Danielle Collins who both had wins this week!

Team of the Week

Ok, I don’t like to repeat teams in back to back weeks, but when you go on the road and break an ancient road-game curse extending all the way back to 2012 and get your first ACC win of the year, you get team of the week. Congrats, Football!

In case you missed it (and if you did stop what you’re doing and go to ESPN3 and watch the replay), the Hoos traveled to Durham and played their most complete game yet to defeat the Blue Devils.

The defense was unstoppable with six caused turnovers, including five interceptions of Duke’s freshman QB Daniel Jones.

Freshman cornerback Bryce Hall had two interceptions on the day, a number matched by sophomore cornerback Juan Thornhill. Quin Blanding also had an interception for the Hoos, as well as seven tackles. Thornhill now has three interceptions on the season, good for a tie for first place in the ACC.

Third-year captain Micah Kiser had himself a day with a team-high 18 tackles, one sack (on a crucial fourth-down try by the Blue Devils), two passes deflected, and two quarterback hurries.

Needless to say, Coach Mendenhall was impressed.

Apparently the folks at the Lott IMPACT Trophy were as well, so go vote for Micah!!

Kelvin Rainey and Zach Bradshaw also had big days tackling, with 14 and 12 respectively.

The big tackle of the day, however, came from true first year Jordan Mack. The Mack heard round the ACC. The Mack Truck. Return of the Mack. Whatever you want to call it, the hit he put on the unsuspecting Daniel Jones is something of legend. With the game 27-20 in favor of the Hoos with over four minutes left in the game, Mack found himself utterly and totally unblocked. To say he laid the lumber on Jones doesn’t do it justice. Let’s see it again.

Hold on. Gonna watch that another 536,327 times. BRB.

The ball, which was forcibly separated from Jones’s hand, was jumped on in the end zone by red shirt first year Eli Hanback, securing the touchdown and giving Virginia a comfortable two-score lead.

The hit was good enough for SportsCenter TopTen.

In case there was any question after that hit, Thornhill’s second interception secured the win for the Hoos.

Offensively, the Hoos continued to improve and look more confident and competent. Kurt Benkert followed up his record setting performance against CMU with a gem of a performance with 23 completions on 41 attempts for 336 yards and three touchdowns. David Eldridge had himself a strong outing with two receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown. Benkert and Eldridge connected for an 84-yard play, which when coupled with last week’s 82-yard pass play to Olamide Zaccheaus, makes Benkert the only QB with two such plays this season.

Zaccheaus and Richard Burney also pulled in touchdown passes, and Albert Reid added one on the ground. Eleven different Wahoos recorded a reception in the game.

Check out the full highlights:

Next up, the Hoos have a bye week to prepare for Pittsburgh coming to town. Kickoff has been set for 12:30. Homecomings! Show up and get loud (way better than Duke, come on now…that place was EMPTY)!

Wahoo of the Week

Ok, this was very tough, and I may get some flack from some of you, but I stand by my decision. I considered Jordan Mack, Juan Thornhill, Bryce Hall…but it just feels right that this week’s StLMMWotW is punter Nick Conte.

Conte has been crushing it for five weeks (longer if you consider all his MVP work last season).

Saturday, Conte boomed seven punts, averaging 48 yards per punt. His longest went 65 yards. Of the seven, four were returned (22 yards total), one was a touchback, and two were dropped inside the 20. With just over four and a half minutes to play, Conte perfectly dropped a 44-yard punt to the Duke one-yard line, setting up the aforementioned Macking that went on.

Let’s see how Twitter reacted to the perfect punt at this crucial juncture:

It’s not just his performance from Saturday that swayed me. On the season, he has 27 punts, averaging 45.2 yards per punt, good for second in the ACC (the guy in first, for NC State, has only punted 10 times and averages 49.7 yards per punt).

Some stats about those 27 punts:

- 13 have landed inside the 20

- 7 fair catches

- 4 touchbacks

FOR THE SEASON, five of Conte’s punts have been returned for a total of 25 yards. Now, I know that’s also on our special teams, but damn.

Additionally, Conte is a finalist for the Campbell Trophy. He is already a winner in my book.

Tweet of the Week

I had to add a new section for this one. Don’t know if it’ll be a weekly mainstay here at Monday Motivation, but if you guys tweet this well every week…well, we’ll see.


Go Hoos!