Monday, June 8, 2009

FOV Cavalier of the Year, #1/#2

The official From Old Virginia Birthday is June 10, at which time this blog marks its first year of publication. For the birthday celebration, we - that is, me, and you the readers - will name the FOV Cavalier of the Year. My job is to pick the twelve finalists and write a few words about each that tell you all about their accomplishments. Your job is easier: to vote in the poll that will run once all twelve are finished.

Two of the finalists will be highlighted each day this week, today through Saturday. They're in random order with no rhyme or reason implied or intended. Today: Danny Glading and Monica Wright/Lyndra Littles.

Danny Glading - Men's lacrosse - Attackman

Team accomplishments:

- Final record: 15-3
- Reeled off 12 straight wins to start the season
- Made NCAA Final Four in Foxborough, MA
- Defeated #1 Syracuse at Syracuse
- Won longest game in NCAA D-I history: 7 OT against Maryland

Personal accomplishments:

- Led team in points with 63: 32 goals, 31 assists
- 5th overall pick in the Major League Lacrosse draft
- Tewaaraton Trophy and Lowe's Senior CLASS Award finalist
- Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Player of the Year
- 3-time All-ACC selection
- First-team USILA All-American

Glading was the point man on the country's most potent offense; UVA led the nation in points and Glading led UVA. Simply put, part of what makes UVA lacrosse UVA lacrosse is the presence of that dominant player that every opponent game-plans for. We had Ben Rubeor, and Matt Ward before that; this year, that's Danny Glading. It's a proud tradition.

Monica Wright/Lyndra Littles - Women's basketball - Guard/forward

Team accomplishments:

- Record: 24-10
- Second round of NCAA tournament
- Wins included upsets of #5 Tennessee and #8 Maryland; also undefeated against VT
- Winner of Mariott Cavalier Classic

Personal accomplishments (Wright):

- Led team in scoring with 20.5 PPG
- All-tournament team at Mariott Cavalier Classic and WBCA Classic
- VaSID Co-Player of the Year
- Wade Trophy finalist
- Appeared on Wooden Award ballot
- All-ACC first team
- ACC Player of the Week for November 24

Personal accomplishments (Littles):

- Team's second-leading scorer and rebounder with 19.9 ppg and 6.4 rpg
- Taken 17th overall in the WNBA draft (2nd round)
- Mariott Cavalier Classic MVP
- Two-time ACC Player of the Week
- All-ACC first team

There are quite a few UVA sports I don't follow regularly, except to take note, applaud, and do a little scoreboard watching when they're doing something really good. Nobody has time to be a fanatic of everything up to and including wrestling, volleyball, and indoor track. Women's basketball happens to be the most readily available and most follow-able of these, I must admit. So if there's a difference in the impact these two made that you can't tell without watching - like, say, a noticeable lack of whatever while Littles was out with injury - then yes, I missed it. That said, even if you'd never heard of "women" let alone "basketball" and you looked down the stat sheet, you'd have no trouble figuring out that this year was the Wright & Littles Show. Or Littles & Wright Show. Having spent the better part of an hour trying to find a good reason to make this about one and not the other, I took the path of least resistance and made it about both. On the one hand, Wright scored 35 to lead the upset against Tennessee; on the other, the absence of Littles was a big factor in losing to Gonzaga. Against Maryland: 30 points and 28 points. First round of the NCAA tournament: 13 each. How do you separate the two? You don't. So here they are, one of two tandems to be FOV CotY finalists.

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