Monday, February 22, 2010

weekend review: championship edition

Big weekend for 'Hoos of all stripes. Lots of blue and orange being represented in assorted venues around the East Coast - none of them actually in Charlottesville, but hey. Records were set, milestones were reached, history was made, championships were won. Yeah, the basketball team got smoked again, but don't let that cloud your perspective. It was a fine weekend to be a Hoo.

Starting with the biggest accomplishment of the week.....


Huzzah! Like I told you last week, it's ACC championship time. UVA got conference championship #2 on the year - one of only two schools to earn two so far by the way - and did so once again in dominating fashion. The women's swim team added nearly 30 points to their total from last year and finished with 877.5. The results are here; I will summarize for you.

1st place events:
200 medley relay
800 free relay
200 IM
50 free
200 free relay
100 fly
200 free
100 back
400 medley relay
200 back
100 free
200 breast (tie)
200 fly
400 free relay

1st place swimmers (individual only):
Amanda Faulkner (200 IM)
Lauren Perdue (50 free, 200 free, 100 free)
Lauren Smart (100 fly)
Mei Christensen (100 back, 200 back)
Christine Olson (200 breast)
Liz Shaw (200 fly)

NCAA 'A' cuts:
200 medley relay (Christensen/McDonnell/Smart/Davis)
200 free (Perdue)
100 back (Christensen, Smart)
200 back (Christensen)
200 breast (Olson)

NCAA 'B' cuts:
800 free relay (Narum/Flynn/Harris/Perdue)
500 free (Bachrouche, Harris, Narum, Myers)
200 IM (Faulkner, Crippen, Shaw, McDonnell)
50 free (Perdue, Christensen, Flynn, Davis)
200 free relay (Christensen/Flynn/Perdue/Davis)
400 IM (Crippen, Olson, Bachrouche, Faulkner, Myers)
100 fly (Smart, Shaw), 200 free (Flynn, Harris, Narum, Moores)
100 breast (Olson, McDonnell, Freeman)
100 back (Cavalier (note - yes this is her name and that's awesome), Stewart)

400 medley relay (Christensen/McDonnell/Smart/Perdue)
1650 free (Narum, Bachrouche, Myers, Harris)
200 back (Smart, Stewart)
100 free (Perdue, Davis, Flynn, Moores)
200 breast (McDonnell, Faulkner, Freeman)
200 fly (Shaw, Crippen)
400 free relay (Christensen, Flynn, Moores, Perdue)

ACC records:
200 medley relay (1:37.33)
200 free relay (1:29.25 - meet record only)
200 free (1:43.86)
400 medley relay (3:32.97 - meet record only)
200 breast (2:09.94)

Miscellaneous domination notes: 4 of top 5 and 1-2-3 in 200 IM, and only one is a senior ... 4 of top 6 in 400 IM ... first place in all five relays and 9 of 13 individual events ... five records set and the final relay came within 0:00.02 of setting another one

Perhaps more records would have been toppled if we hadn't set so damn many last year. Oh well.

By the way, the difference between A cuts and B cuts isn't quite as gaping as it might sound. They're actually fairly unnecessary; the NCAA has a maximum number of swimmers they'll invite to their championship for each event. To oversimplify it, they invite all the A cuts and then go one-by-one and invite B cuts til they hit the max. Why not just have one cut time? I don't know. I liked it better in high school where if you swam a state cut time, you got to go to the state meet - period. (Not that I was ever in danger of making it.)

Anyway, as you can see, we're pretty well set to make a splash (HA!) at nationals, which will be nice for Director's Cup purposes. We won't win (not all those swimmers above are going to score points), but the girls finished 12th last year and maybe a top ten finish is on the horizon.

By the way, Lauren Perdue's name shows up a lot, as you might notice. That's because she's really, really good. And she's a freshman. There are some phenomenal swimmers up there, like Christensen, but Perdue is unbelievable. How good? Like, maybe Olympic good. You can use this to convert these yards times (used here) to meters (used in the Olympics.) Right now, that time is just off the pace that would have put her in the 200 freestyle semifinals in Beijing. You have to be elite as all hell to get onto the US national team, and she's not quite there yet. Give it a couple years. You just might see her in London.

But all these ACC teams have some incredible swimmers. I mean, we did let the other teams win four of those individual events, after all. The difference here is we have incredible swimmers in every event two, three, four deep. That's where the meet really is won. In no event did UVA place fewer than two swimmers in the A heat (top 8) and in just under than half of the events, UVA was in four of the eight A lanes, piling up the points. The B heats were similarly stacked with Cavaliers. (Sometimes literally. Tell me this young lady wasn't destined for Virginia.)

Bottom line: congrats to the ladies for kicking ass at the ACC's, and on Wednesday, get ready for the men to do it all over again.


Ah, now for the crash back to earth. Let me keep this short and sweet: Until the hoops team re-learns how to shoot the ball, we will go nowhere and there won't be any point in analyzing why. Turnovers, defense, rebounding, size, grueling travel, matchups, none of it matters at this point. We're losing because we can't shoot. It's 2009 all over again. Sylven and Mike Scott can't be effective, because the moment the ball goes inside, whether on a drive or pass, four defenders collapse on it because they don't respect the shooters. Bad offense begets bad defense, just like last year, and the result is ugly.

It does tend to debunk two myths about Dave Leitao's coaching style that were taken as gospel last year:

- The team was shooting poorly because they couldn't get into a rhythm thanks to Dave's incessantly inconsistent substitutions and rotations. No, they couldn't shoot because they can't shoot. A few more games of this will give us a very definitive answer to that particular chicken-or-the-egg question.

- The team's confidence was shot because Dave was screaming at them all the time. No, it was shot because they were losing. A lot. Tony doesn't scream, at least not during games, and don't tell me there's a small part of you that sorta wishes he would, just a little.


Little closer than it should have been, but the lacrosse team earned Dom Starsia his 200th win at UVA. First college coach ever to rack up 200 wins at one D-I school and 100 more at another.

Part of the reason it was so close is that the Drexel goalie did really well for himself. Last year in our game he earned himself CAA rookie of the week honors for his performance, and statistically he was even better this year: 17 saves against 11 goals. A save percentage over .600 is pretty dern good.

On the one hand, it was nice to see more people besides just Steele Stanwick lighting up the scoreboard. We knew he'd be good, but six other Hoos besides him scored a goal, including hotshot freshman Connor English. (English is from, let's see, Manhasset, NY - I just bet that's on Long Island (checking: aaaaaand, yup) - and damn if Connor English doesn't sound exactly like a kid from Long Island who's really damn good at lacrosse. Between him and Steele Stanwick I think we're all set.)

I'm not sure yet where the faceoffs are going to come from, though. I hope we turn out better than the very average showing we had this weekend. Chad Gaudet was a one-year wonder for us, and he was very good, but his replacements (Benincasa and Ince, mostly) need to prove themselves all over again in his place.

Still: #1 ain't bad. (Even if it's a "tepid" #1.)


Think this says it all, no?

We're similarly gracing the front pages of the baseball coverage on Rivals and ESPN. (Lax made the same ESPN page as well as the NCAA's.) Wahoo indeed. That's what happens when you're #1. Not just "power rankings," either; Baseball America and Rivals are generally accepted as legit actual rankings. UVA is #1. Just say it. It feels good.

The bats did their thing in Greenville, taking two of three on the road to start the season. That's good enough when the opponent is ranked #11. And I'll tell you what, I'm not even worked up over the disastrous 8th inning on Sunday in which ECU scored 7 and threatened to actually win a game in which they had been facing a 13-4 deficit. A lot of that was thanks to O'Connor's decision to start up the Dan Grovatt and Corey Hunt experiments as relief pitchers. We may not see a lot of that going forward, given the results. Nor am I concerned about Saturday, when the bats fell silent. They came back alive on Sunday, hitting .441 for the day, and Kevin Brandt (ECU's Saturday pitcher), I suspect he's going to be making a name for himself before all's said and done this year. Sunday was a hitting party and everyone was invited. All nine starters in the lineup gathered at least one hit, seven of them got at least two, and Keith Werman managed to be hit by a pitch. Werman has been found to actually be smaller than the strike zone itself, so this is pretty remarkable.

Actually, the only thing that worries me is that Cody Winiarski's debut was a little less than stellar, and Neal Davis had to be brought in to get the last out of the fourth. Yes, ECU has some hotshot bats, but so does most of our ACC competition. Consider the third starter spot still up for grabs, with Will Roberts being another candidate.

All in all, a weekend that true blue 'Hoos should bask in. Never mind the basketball team, Bennett knows what he's doing and they'll come around sure enough. Enjoy the dynasties we have going: one that's reloading, one that's ongoing, one being born in front of your eyes.

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