Tuesday, June 9, 2009

FOV Cavalier of the Year, #3/#4

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: Eugene Monroe and Dominic Inglot/Michael Shabaz.

Eugene Monroe - Football - Left tackle

Team accomplishments:

- Beat two ranked ACC teams, and Maryland by 31.
- Um.....that's about it.

Personal accomplishments:

- Selected 8th overall in the NFL draft.
- Winner of ACC's Jacobs Blocking Trophy as league's best blocker.
- First-team all-ACC selection with third-most votes overall.
- ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week following win over ECU.

It's pretty clear by the inclusion of team accomplishments in these lists that I sort of intend them to be taken into account in the voting, and the football team is one of the few UVA teams that had a lousy year. That said, it's not as if there weren't bright spots, and Eugene Monroe was the brightest. He established himself as the ACC's premier offensive lineman and one of the clear best in the country, rewarded for a fine season with an invite to sit in the green room at the NFL Draft and come out on stage to pose with the commish when his name was called with the 8th overall pick. He was the third ACC player taken, but the second one taken that nobody said "WTF???" after. He came to UVA as a top-ten prospect nationally and left the same way - the only one in that group that can claim that.

Dominic Inglot/Michael Shabaz - Men's tennis - Doubles

Team accomplishments:

- Third consecutive ACC championship
- Won NCAA regional
- Made NCAA quarterfinals
- Undefeated regular season
- Extended streak of consecutive matches won against ACC to 45

Personal accomplishments:

- Won national doubles championship
- That's "National. Championship."
- Defeated #1 pairing in the nation in the first round of NCAA doubles tournament
- Won 10 of 13 sets in NCAA doubles tournament
- 41-8 record as a doubles pairing

Unlike yesterday's women's basketball pairing, Inglot and Shabaz are here specifically as a pair. When you bring home a national championship, I don't care if it is in an under-the-radar sport like tennis, finalist status for CotY is guaranteed. Even had they lost every single other point they played all year. But they didn't, mind you - they won an incredible 84% of their matches, finished the year as the #1 doubles pairing after starting off as #2, and roared through an NCAA field (playing three higher-seeded pairings on the way) to bring home the only national championship that UVA has seen this season. (So far. Keeping my fingers crossed for the baseball team.)

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