Monday, June 14, 2010

FOV Cavalier of the Year, #5/#6

From Old Virginia celebrates its birthday in a unique way: by recognizing one of Virginia's student-athletes as the Cavalier of the Year. What are the criteria for the award? You decide; that's the beauty. I nominate the 12 athletes that I think have been the most outstanding during the latest season of UVA athletics, and provide a short summary of their accomplishments. You choose the winner in a poll that goes up after all 12 have had their moment in the spotlight.

Over the next two weeks, two athletes at a time will be profiled, and you'll hear about what they've accomplished while representing Mr. Jefferson's University this year. The athletes are presented in a totally random order so as to hopefully not imply any endorsement one way or another. Athletes from all fields are considered; part of the point is to emphasize that UVA is about excellence across the
entire department and doesn't shortchange its so-called non-revenue sports simply because they don't make headlines. Last year's winner was Danny Hultzen; today's athletes are Diego Restrepo and Scot Robison.

Diego Restrepo - Men's soccer - Goalkeeper

Team accomplishments:

- ACC champions

Personal accomplishments:

- School-record 1176:51 shutout streak, including 11 straight shutouts
- School-record 15 shutouts
- Nationwide leader in save percentage at .890
- ACC Tournament MVP
- NCAA Tournament Defensive MVP
- College Soccer News 1st-team All-America
- NSCAA All-Region third team

Eight. The men's soccer team played 25 games this season, and in those 25 games - over 2300 minutes of soccer - just eight times did a ball find its way into the UVA net. Diego Restrepo's shutout streak that spanned 11 games plus most of two others on either end (VT scored in the 13th minute of our game, and not until the 70th minute of a game almost two months later did the streak come to an end) is astounding in and of itself, but what lifted UVA to the championship of everything is when it happened. And who it happened against. Wake Forest - the #3 team in the country and a College Cup final four participant - had three cracks at Restrepo and couldn't score until it was just about too late. The shutout streak spanned the final half of the ACC season, the entire ACC tournament, and three-plus games in the NCAAs.

The streak ended against Wake Forest in the semifinals of the College Cup, but an overtime golden goal sent UVA onward, and Restrepo got right to work on a second streak. The victim this time: unbeaten, untied, top-ranked Akron. Not until the penalty kicks could Akron get a ball past Restrepo, and even then it took some time: the first attempt would be saved as Diego decided, on a hunch, that the shooter would go the opposite way that he'd gone in Akron's previous shootout against UNC. It wasn't the first time Restrepo had made the right call on a penalty kick: a PK save against Maryland in the quarterfinals preserved the streak, though it wasn't necessary to win the game. The Akron save did prove to be a game-winner. Check that: it would prove to be a national-championship winner. It might even be a Cavalier-of-the-Year winner.

Scot Robison - Men's swimming & diving - Freestyle

Team accomplishments:

- ACC champions
- 10th at NCAA national meet

Personal accomplishments:

- ACC champion in 50, 100, and 200 yard freestyle
- Member of all four ACC-champion relays
- ACC meet Most Valuable Swimmer
- ACC records set in 100 and 200 yard freestyle
- 1 individual, 4 relay, and 1 individual honorable mention All-America honors
- 4th-place finish at NCAAs in 200-yard freestyle

Every successful swim team has top-notch freestylers. At a college swim meet, there are just about as many freestyle events as all other events combined. Sprinters are especially important - every event up through 200 yards is considered a sprint. So a guy like Scot Robison - the fastest swimmer in the ACC - is irreplaceable. He wins lots of events.

Robison was a key member of the team last year as well, but this year really cemented his status. He swam no fewer than seven events - the max - in the ACCs, and his wins weren't touch-outs. 26 hundredths of a second seems like nothing at all; it's all that separated him from second place in the 50 freestyle, and it's also what separated second place from seventh in the same race. The 50 free is tight; the 200 free, not so much, as Robison won it by more than two body lengths. You'd have to look pretty hard to find someone who does as much for their team as Robison does for his.

1 comment:

Rational Centrist said...

These are and will be ALL WINNERS! Can you imagine trying to pick a single winner? Just an honor to be named among this group! And, so many more that "just missed" being named to the list!!! Go Hoos!