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. The full list of nominees is here.
Over the next few 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; 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. Today's athletes: Elly Buckley and Alex Domijan.
Elly Buckley - Field hockey - Forward
-- NCAA tournament
-- Ranked #4 midseason
-- Fourth all-American recognition
-- Fourth all-ACC recognition
-- Two-time ACC Player of the Week
-- NFHCA all-South
-- VaSID Player of the Year
When Paige Selenski graduated, UVa's field hockey team had a huge void to fill. It wasn't a real big mystery who would do the job, though. Elly Buckley has spent her last three years playing Scottie Pippen. You can't really say she played in Selenski's shadow, long though that shadow may have been; this year Buckley became the fourth player in UVa history to be a four-time all-American. Clearly people have been taking notice, throughout her career.
Interestingly, the conference has 13 players in its history that've been four-time all-Americans, but only 11 that've been four-time all-ACC; Buckley is on both lists. She was an easy choice, having led the conference in goals, and, I didn't even know they kept track of this stuff for players other than goalies, but, defensive saves as well. Truly an all-around star; Buckley was everything to the UVa field hockey team this year.
Alex Domijan - Men's tennis - #1 singles/doubles
-- ACC champions
-- NCAA semifinals
-- Set ACC all-sport record for consecutive conference wins
-- ACC Player of the Year
-- VaSID Player of the Year
-- ITA Atlantic Region Senior Player of the Year
-- ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award
-- 6th seed in NCAA individual singles tournament
Another sport, another best player in the ACC for UVa. We are getting so embarrassingly full of them that it almost seems like generosity to have let someone else win it in football. There's no such magnanimity in men's tennis, though - on their way to their 8th straight ACC championship, the UVa men's tennis team became the most dominant team of any kind in ACC history. They finished the season with their consecutive win streak over ACC competition at 122.
Alex Domijan finished his own season with a dominant 26-3 mark in singles play, and 22-4 in doubles; he was ranked #9 in the country after the year wrapped up. He pulled in multiple POY recognitions, and that Sportsmanship Award is for "sportsmanship, character, excellent academics and outstanding tennis playing accomplishments." Domijan is following in the footsteps of giants here; Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh also won that award. He's clearly proven himself a worthy heir to the legacy of past UVa tennis stars.