Keeler: Strong spring for Cavs

With the exception of football, U.Va. was already having a pretty decent season but this spring the Cavaliers have the potential to reach incredible heights.

The baseball team has been ranked No. 1 in the country and has a chance to make some serious noise in the postseason.

However, it’s the less-publicized sports that Virginia seems to be really excelling at these days.

The men’s tennis team made it to the Final Four before falling to USC. The Cavaliers have really been on the rise in men’s tennis for the last few years. They made it to the NCAA semifinals for five straight years, the longest streak of any school in the country.
They have been ranked No. 1 in the country at times, and have produced several respectable professional players over the last few years.

Not to be outdone, the women’s tennis team also had a strong season. The Cavaliers advanced to the NCAA women’s quarterfinals, where they fell to traditional powerhouse Stanford. It was Virginia’s first NCAA quarterfinal appearance. Tennis is very popular in Charlottesville, where they also host an ITF women’s professional event each year, and it looks like it’s now spreading from the men’s to the women’s side at U.Va.

Virginia will also be in the women’s lacrosse Final Four on Friday in Towson, Maryland. The Cavaliers upset powerhouse North Carolina in the quarterfinals last weekend. They will play Syracuse, and Northwestern will play Maryland in the other semifinal with the championship game being played on Sunday.

The two semifinal games will be on ESPN3, with the championship game on ESPNU. Just like with tennis, the men have always been good. They have won numerous NCAA titles, the last coming in 2011, and have been fixtures in the tournament. The women are now following suit — sort of. It is the 14th time in school history that the Cavaliers are in the semifinals, but the first since 2007.

Virginia’s men’s golf team did not make it past regionals this year, but Denny McCarthy earned a spot in the NCAA men’s tournament, which will be held this weekend in Hutchinson, Kansas at Prairie Dunes Country Club.

It is the third-straight year that McCarthy has qualified for the NCAA tournament. He also just barely edged out teammate David Pastore for the spot in the tournament.

Virginia’s women’s golf team is participating in the women’s NCAA tournament this week, and was in 13th place after the first day, and 19th after the second day.

That’s not all. Virginia’s rowing team recently won the ACC tournament.

Virginia’s track and field teams didn’t fare as well, but still had plenty of individual winners in the ACC Track and Field Championships on April 17-19. The women finished seventh overall, while the men placed eighth.

Skyline graduate and Virginia freshman Thomas Madden finished 12th in the 10,000-meter run in the ACC Track and Field Championships with a time of 29:54.91.
The NCAA East Regionals will be held on May 29-31 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Of course, Virginia’s baseball team plays this weekend in the ACC tournament with the NCAA tournament to follow over the next few weeks.

With all the success of the spring teams, it’s certainly a great time to be a Cavaliers fan. And who knows, maybe the success will carry over into next fall. OK, so maybe considering the state of U.Va. football I’m going out on a limb (maybe it’s more like a small branch) there.

I do believe that momentum can carry over even at the college level. When one group sees another having success it makes them want to do better, and that may begin to happen at U.Va. — year round.

Virginia is currently 13th on the women’s side and 15th on the men’s side in the Capital One standings (which are based on how each school does in every NCAA sport), but they should rise in both as the rest of the spring seasons finish (standings are updated after each sport is over).

It’s been a great spring so far for U.Va. and before it’s said and done it could very well be a banner year for the Cavaliers.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd