We’re on to the next section of the 30 best moments from 2019! Be sure to go here if you missed the first installment (or want to reminisce on those ones for just a little longer).
Today, we’ll take a look at No. 24-20.
24. Men’s Soccer Reaches Championship Game
Just a few days ago, the Soccer Hoos competed for a chance to give Virginia its third national title in the same calendar year for the first time in school history. Though they came up just short of achieving that feat, falling to Georgetown in a classic (7-6 in penalty kicks), it was an extraordinary season for head coach George Gelnovatch and the team. Overall, the men finished 21-2-1 - the program’s best record since 1995.
23. The Orange Bowl
Virginia football’s march to a 9-3 regular season saw them earn a first-ever divisional crown, an appearance in the conference championship game, and a win over some school from Blacksburg for the first time in a long time (more on that later).
Despite getting thoroughly dominated by Clemson in Charlotte (a trend in recent years for the Tigers), it also brought them an invitation to the Orange Bowl - the first New Year’s Six bowl the Cavaliers will ever get to play in.
Who knows, maybe we’ll get another special moment from that game, too.
On Sep. 23, Virginia fans were treated to a special night in John Paul Jones Arena commemorating men’s basketball’s NCAA Tournament run. Speeches from host Dave Koehn, athletic director Carla Williams, school president Jim Ryan, and Tony Bennett gave way to a Q&A with De’Andre Hunter, Kyle Guy, and Ty Jerome, who all returned to grounds from their NBA jobs for the weekend to partake in the event.
After that, the whole team, outside of Jack Salt and Marco Anthony who were unable to attend, received their championship rings on stage and watched as their banner worked its way up into the rafters, forever cementing this incredible team’s legacy.
21. Women’s Soccer Finishes Regular Season Undefeated
Like the men, the women suffered a difficult loss in postseason play, falling in the second round of the NCAA’s to Washington State, 3-2.
Still, that should by no means discredit the run the ladies had put on display beforehand. Prior to their defeat to North Carolina in the conference tournament finals, the squad, which ranked No. 1 nationally for the majority of the season, did not lose once, going 16-0-3 through their first 19 games.
As a Cavaliers fan, March 4’s game on the road at Syracuse was surreal to watch.
It started, in truth, with a little under 12 minutes remaining in the second half, when the Hoos, ahead by just four points, went unconscious from behind the three-point line, combining to go seven-of-eight from distance in just over 7 and a half minutes of game time (by the end, they’d tie a program single-game record with 18 threes). The lead, once marginal, ballooned to 23.
Touching on the Orange’s classic 2-3 zone style of defense, Tony Bennett offered this in his post-game press conference: “We had our night tonight against it shooting.”
Yea, I’d say so, coach.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for moments No. 19-15!