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Year in Review: Top 10 (plus one!) Cavalier moments of 2016

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Another successful calendar year in the books for the Wahoos as Virginia claimed NCAA titles, ACC championships, and Olympic medals.

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Virginia
Another successful year done!
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time where you find yourself reflecting on the year that has passed. Facebook fills up with those “year in review” videos that you post because you think everyone is going to be so fascinated with your happenings. Spotify and Apple Music tempt you with “best of 2016” playlists that make you just want to listen to ‘Closer’ on repeat. We here at Streaking the Lawn are no different. Yesterday, we cruelly made you re-live the five worst moments in 2016 for UVA. Today, I’m here to remind you of all the wonderful moments.

Without further ado, here are the Top Ten (and one) Virginia performances in 2016.

Honorable mention

January 30, March 5, December 28 - Virginia Basketball earns the Louisville Triple Crown

Rick Pitino said it best on Wednesday night: “Virginia seems to be our Kryptonite. We just don’t play well against them.”

Virginia basketball played the Cardinals three times in 2016 - twice at the ridiculously named KFC Yum! Center - and the Hoos handled Louisville each time. While both squads have notoriously tough defenses, it has been Virginia that has made everything look easy offensively and impossible defensively against their “rival” from the other commonwealth. In the three games played, the Hoos have held Louisville to 47, 48, and 51 points. Yikes.

The March 5 matchup - Senior Night - provided us with one of the feel good moments of the year as Caid Kirven drilled a three and the bench lost their damn minds (go to the 5:50 mark for the magic).

No, you’re crying.

Virginia’s most recent win over the then #6 ranked Cardinals became the first Cavalier road win against a top-ten opponent since Devin Smith helped the Hoos defeat #8 Maryland on February 6, 2003.

Also worth noting: Congrats to Danielle Collins (Women’s Tennis), Filip Mihaljevic (Track and Field), and Henry Wynne (Track and Field) on their individual NCAA titles they earned in 2016. Mihaljevic also represented Bosnia and Herzegovina (and UVA!) at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Well done!

#10

October 1, 2016 - Virginia Football picks up 34-20 road win at Duke

While there were not many highs during Bronco Mendenhall’s first season at the helm of the UVA Football team, their win at Duke snapped a 17-game road losing streak that spanned several seasons. The Hoos forced six turnovers in the game, including this hit by Jordan Mack that solidified the win for Virginia:

#9

Men’s Lacrosse ekes out exciting 13-12 overtime win against #8 Johns Hopkins

The 2016 season proved to be the last for legendary head coach Dom Starsia, and while the Hoos missed the postseason, it wasn’t without exciting games. Mike D’Amario deposited the game winner against the Blue Jays just 19 seconds into the extra period and both Greg Coholan and James Pannell had three goals apiece for the Hoos. With the win, Virginia retained possession of the Doyle Smith Cup for the third straight year.

#8

January 26, 2016 - Virginia Basketball stuns Wake Forest 72-71 with last-second three by Darius Thompson

I can’t think of the 2015-2016 Virginia Men’s Basketball season without seeing Darius Thompson banking in a three as time expired on the road at Wake Forest after the most improbable - and seemingly impossible - comeback. The Hoos were down seven with 20 seconds left before threes by Marial Shayok and Malcolm Brogdon set up a long inbounds pass that found its way to Thompson for the one-handed prayer that reinvigorated Virginia’s season.

Legitimately had to talk myself out of making this numbers one through five. I can’t get enough of it.

#7

May 14, 2016 - Virginia Rowing wins seventh straight ACC title

Virginia continued their ACC champion streak in a totally and utterly dominating fashion as they swept all five races for their seventh straight conference title. The Hoos finished with 99 points, well ahead of their closest competitors - Duke and Syracuse - who had 75 points each. The Varsity Eight squad won their fifth straight ACC Crew of the Year honors.

#6

April 17, 2016 - Women’s Golf repeats as ACC champs

Lauren Coughlin won the individual ACC title on the final hole of the conference tournament, helping the Hoos hold off Wake Forest for their second straight championship. After sinking the big putt, Coughlin’s boyfriend - Virginia football alum John Pond - proposed. That’s a helluva day for Lauren and the Hoos.

#5

February 27, 2016 - #3 Virginia defeats #7 UNC 79-74 in front of raucous Gameday crowd

What can you say about this game? Two of the best teams in the country, featuring some of the most exciting players, playing in front of a sold out crowd? Yes, please. Malcolm Brogdon led the way with 26 points in the win that proved yet again that the Hoos are now part of the ACC elite. It was just flat out fun.

#4

November 6, 2016 - Women’s Field Hockey wins program’s first ever ACC title with 4-2 victory over North Carolina

Virginia saw four different players score as they captured the ACC title over North Carolina in Winston Salem. As the six seed, the Hoos were the lowest-seeded team to win the ACC tournament in the event’s history.

#3

All of 2016 - Leah Smith is a total badass

2016 was the year of Leah. In February, she was part of the #5 Women’s Swimming and Diving team that won their NINTH straight ACC title, including ACC titles in the 800 freestyle relay, the 500 free, and 1,650 free races. In March, she defended her 2015 individual NCAA titles in both the 500 free and the 1,650 free, making her the most decorated swimmer in Virginia history and second most in ACC history. In August, Leah participated in the Rio Olympics, winning a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle race and a gold medal in the 4x200m freestyle race. Additionally, she earned both All-ACC and All-American status in the 200 free, 500 free, 1,650 free, and the 800 free relay. Whew. Tracking all that?

As a Pittsburgh native, she had support from her favorite football team:

On top of all that, a rescue dog in Pittsburgh was named after Leah, and they met. It’s adorable.

#2

March 25, 2016 - Virginia Basketball moves on to the Elite Eight with convincing 84-71 win over Iowa State

For the first time since 1995, Virginia earned a spot in the Elite Eight after dismantling Iowa State in the Sweet Sixteen. The Hoos, led by Anthony Gill’s season-high 23 points, did pretty much whatever they wanted as they hit outside jumpers, made layups with ease, and flushed home commanding dunks. Iowa State tried unsuccessfully to speed up our heroes, but Brogdon and Company remained cool, calm, and collected. Luckily no games happened after this and we all were happy and never sad ever again.

#1

May 24, 2016 - Men’s Tennis wins second straight NCAA Championship

Talk about dynasty status. Virginia won their second straight national title - and third in four years - with a dominating 4-1 victory over Oklahoma. The Hoos won the doubles point, then got singles victories from Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, J.C. Aragone, and Henrik Wiersholm to secure the win. Keep cruising, Hoos.

Check out this great recap of all the 2016 excellence

Have a favorite memory that I missed? Let me know in the comments!