Danielle Collins clinches women’s singles tennis title, and other sports news

The Virginia Cavaliers baseball team, which only returned three seniors, fell short of back-to-back national championships. 
Photo: Jeff Lack/ICON SMI BAJ/Jeff Lack/ICON SMI/Newscom The Virginia Cavaliers baseball team, which only returned three seniors, fell short of back-to-back national championships. Photo: Jeff Lack/ICON SMI BAJ/Jeff Lack/ICON SMI/Newscom

Baseball

The year after their championship-winning season, UVA looked to repeat last year’s success. However, the Cavaliers faced the challenge of a young squad with only three returning seniors going into the 2016 season.

After a rough start against East Carolina, UVA picked up momentum winning eight of 10 games in the first half of March. Then the Cavaliers fell into a slump, losing eight of 11 games between March 26 and April 10, which included a 15-0 defeat against Louisville.

UVA lost to both Clemson and Wake Forest in the ACC tournament and turned their sights to the Charlottesville Regional to qualify for the College World Series. There, UVA defeated William & Mary 17-4, but then fell to East Carolina sending them to a rematch with the Tribe. William & Mary upset the Cavaliers 5-4, ending UVA’s season.

Golf

The UVA men’s golf team began play in September with the DICK’s Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup. The cup is a challenge between ACC and SEC schools, a competition between the two conferences. UVA led the pack of teams throughout most of the tournament and finished tied for first place with Vanderbilt, helping the ACC take down the SEC for the second time in three years.

In the ACC tournament, UVA finished the first day in third place but then slipped during the final two days of competition. The Cavaliers finished the ACC tournament in eighth place after going six-over-par across the three-day tournament.

Finally, in the NCAA tournament, UVA elevated their play and finished 22nd overall while Derek Bard finished 17th individually.

The women’s golf team dominated the ACC tournament, leading by at least five strokes through all three days. The Cavaliers finished the tournament 11 strokes above Wake Forest, the runner-up.

But the NCAA tournament did not prove to be so easy for UVA. The Cavaliers fell to Washington, the eventual champions, in the NCAA quarterfinals.

Tennis

The men’s tennis squad dominated the 2016 season with a 30-4 record. They finished with an 11-1 record in the ACC although lost 4-3 to Wake Forest in the ACC tournament final.

However, with their eyes pressed on the NCAA tournament, UVA entered the competition as the No. 1 overall seed. The Cavaliers swept opponents Florida and California in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively. UVA faced 11-seed Oklahoma in the final. The Hoos made short work of the Sooners as they cruised to a 4-1 victory and an NCAA title.

The women’s team also had a successful 2016 season with a 19-11 regular season record. UVA fell to top-seeded North Carolina 4-1 in the ACC semifinals.

However, in the third round of the NCAA tournament, UVA and UNC met again. This time the Cavaliers conquered the third-seeded Tar Heels 4-2. In the quarterfinals UVA met Vanderbilt, the tournament’s six seed. The Commodores ended UVA’s season with a 4-2 victory.

Despite the loss in team play, senior Danielle Collins continued into the women’s singles tournament as a two seed. Collins defeated five opponents to reach the championship match against top-seeded Hayley Carter of North Carolina. Despite the underdog title, Collins dominated Carter, winning in just two sets. This championship was Collins’ second NCAA singles title in three years, making her the seventh woman ever to win two NCAA singles titles.

Rowing

The UVA rowing team dominated their season, winning the ACC championships and finishing third in the NCAA tournament.

Lacrosse

The typical dynasty of UVA men’s lacrosse broke this year. The team struggled through the regular season, finishing with a 7-8 record, failing to qualify for post-season play. Although UVA has one of the toughest lacrosse schedules in the country, their 0-4 ACC record was shocking to the program. The Cavaliers’ long-time head coach, Dom Starsia, left the program after the regular season and Lars Tiffany, former player under Starsia’s guidance, will take the reins for the 2017 season.

The women’s team performed slightly better with an even 9-9 record. In the postseason, UVA narrowly lost to Duke 9-8 in the ACC quarterfinals. Then, UVA fell to Johns Hopkins 12-10 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Softball

The UVA softball program suffered a tough 18-33 season as the team failed to produce runs. A low-scoring offense was the cause for the Cavaliers’ difficult season. UVA failed to reach the post season, finishing third to last in the ACC. The Cavaliers named Joanna Hardin as their new head coach for the 2017 season.

Swim and Dive

The men’s swim and dive team finished the ACC tournament in sixth place. However, in the NCAA tournament, the Hoos exceeded expectations and placed 28th overall.

A typical contender, the women’s squad dominated the ACC tournament with 1332.5 points and a first-place finish. In the NCAA championship, UVA finished fifth overall while Georgia took home the title.

Outdoor Track and Field

After a typical regular season, the men’s track and field team finished in third place in the ACC tournament. The Hoos then finishing eighth overall with 20 points in the NCAA championship meet.

As for the women’s team, they started out the ACC tournament in first place but slipped to fourth by the end of the tournament, failing to qualify for the NCAA tournament.