Sunday Night Football Talk
Nov. 1, 2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- For the first 10 minutes of his weekly Sunday night teleconference, Al Groh answered questions about players who'd stood out -- for reasons good and bad -- in Virginia's 28-17 loss to Duke the day before.
Then came a question about Groh, who's in his ninth season as coach at his alma mater. Doug Doughty, the longtime UVa beat writer for The Roanoke Times, asked what Groh would say to fans calling for a coaching change.
"I don't have anything to say," said Groh, whose record at Virginia is 59-49. "I know a lot more about the situation than probably anybody. Maybe someday I'll say what that is."
He didn't elaborate on that comment, but Groh had plenty to say when asked about the ugly post-game atmosphere at Scott Stadium.
Fans yelled at Groh as he headed to the locker room, and they also booed and jeered some of the UVa players.
"It's very unfortunate," Groh said Sunday night. "Regardless of the result, it's [the fans'] team, it's their players. They're not perfect, but they're really good kids, and they're trying to do the right thing, and they're trying to play as hard as they can. It's just that unfortunate that they get that type of response. I feel badly for the players.
"I'd just say it's as much a commentary on the booers as it is on the players."
Virginia went up 17-12 early in the fourth quarter, and the score was unchanged when Duke got the ball back with 5:36 to play.
"I mean, it's pretty unfortunate that it turned out the way that it did," Groh said. "You know, we have a bad play there, but with 3:45 to go, at that point, it's a pretty decently done game."
On the play in question, Chris Cook, one of the ACC's top cornerbacks, got beat in man-to-man coverage on Duke wide receiver Conner Vernon, who caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Thaddeus Lewis.
That put the Blue Devils up 18-17 with 3:45 left, and they added another touchdown 23 seconds later off a UVa turnover.
"For 56 minutes, that's a team that's been scoring quite a few points, and it had four field goals, and some of those because the team got the ball in advantageous position," Groh said.
"Those [defensive] players, they played as hard as they could play, and they did a real nice job. We had a bad play, on a third-and-9 play, and so we're behind. It's disappointing for all of us. It's heartbreaking for us and everybody who put a lot into it, the players and everybody."
Virginia (2-2 ACC, 3-5 overall) must win three of its final four games to avoid finishing the regular season with a losing record for the third time in four years. UVa's next game is Saturday at No. 16 Miami (3-2, 6-2). Raycom will televise the noon game.
-- Jeff White
UVa-Duke, the morning after | Doug Doughty - Roanoke Times
Presumably, Virginia will find somebody good who is willing to take over its football program.The money is good, the state produces plenty of prospects, the stadium is attractive, the facilities are what you’d want, the school is well-respected, yada, yada, yada.
But, I don’t see how the Cavaliers are going to be any good in 2010. The talent is just not there. Plus, the new coach is going to have to take this rag-tag bunch to Southern Cal. Talk about ugly!
Until Saturday, I would have thought Virginia had a respectable defense. Until the second half, I thought Virginia had a respectable defense. The only reason the Cavaliers were in the game at halftime was because the defense had held Duke to three field goals on drives that could have produced toucheowns.
However, when the defense had a chance to win the game, it couldn’t do it. Virginia’s offense twice took the lead with touchdown drives in the second game and the defense gave it back. A 42-yard touchdown pass from Thaddeus Lewis to Conner Vernon on third-and-9 with 3:45 remaining gave Duke an 18-17 lead it would not relinquish in a game that ended up 28-17.
It’s hard to say that a stop there would have given Virginia the game because the Blue Devils might have gone for a first down on fourth-and-9. But, if the Cavaliers had merely held Duke to a field goal on that drive, victory would have been within their sights.
When asked to account for a 424-198 disparity in total offense, coach Al Groh pointed to big plays. In addition to the 42-yard touchdown pass to Vernon, Lewis had completions for 40 and 32 yards to Donovan Varner and for 33 yards to Austin Kelly.
On the same drive that resulted in the go-ahead touchdown, Lewis had a completion to Varner for 22 yards on second and 8 from the Duke 35. Remember the drive that ended in a Chase Minnifield end-zone interception, seemingly restoring Virginia’s momentum? The Blue Devils had completed a 40-yard pass on that one.
Duke got more total offense from seven passing plays (42, 40, 33, 32, 22, 17 and 13) than Virginia had for the game. A match-up between the nation’s fifth-ranked passing defense (Virginia) and the nation’s sixth-ranked passing offense (Duke) was no contest.
But, if you want to look at real mismatches, consider the quarterbacks. Duke’s Thaddeus Lewis was 24-of-40 for 343 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Virginia’s Jameel Sewell, closing in on 30 career starts, was 8-of-22 for 86 yards. At one point in his career, Sewell was a semi-dangerous running threat, but his longest run of the day went for 3 yards.
Frankly, Sewell has seldom looked worse. And, Marc Verica wasn’t any better. The Verica of 2009 has shown no resemblance to the Verica who led the Cavaliers on a four-game winning streak in October 2008; in fact, the Verica of November 2008 wasn’t the same guy.
Verica looms as the leading candidate to start at quarterback in 2010 and what other options will the new coach have? Riko Smalls? Ross Metheny? Neither of them has attempted a pass and Metheny is just lucky that Groh hasn’t wasted his redshirt season. The way that Groh has continued to pull redshirts off his true freshmen – 14 with the debuts Saturday of Paul Freedman and Connor McCartin – is simply unconscionable.
For the sake of the program, athletic director Craig Littlepage or executive associate AD Jon Oliver needs to tell Groh, “Enough is enough,” on the true freshmen. He’s done enough damage to the program already.
Groh on possible coaching change
In advance of Al Groh's weekly Sunday teleconference, I'd been thinking all day about a way to ask Groh about his coaching future in a fashion that would elicit a response.
Here's what I came up with: "What would you say to the people who are calling for a coaching change?"
After about a four-second pause, Groh responded, "I don't have anything to say."
He paused for another 4-5 seconds and then added, "I know a lot more about the situation than probably anybody. Maybe some day I'll say what that is."
Fortunately, he didn't snap at me and didn't hesitate to answer any of my subsequent questions, but there was a cryptic tone to his answer.
What does he know about the situation that the rest of us don't? I can't wait to find out.
U.Va. fans expressing their disenchantment at the turnstile
By Michael Phillips
Published: November 2, 2009
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CHARLOTTESVILLE Firing Virginia coach Al Groh at the end of the season would be expensive, but the cost of not doing so could be just as high.
Only 41,713 fans were on hand at Scott Stadium on Saturday to watch the Cavs lose to Duke, the lowest number since the stadium was expanded in 2000.
It seems reasonable to assume that a winning team would have put an additional 10,000 people in the stadium. Such a surge in attendance would have been worth nearly half a million dollars. By contrast, when this season ends Groh has two more years remaining on a contract that pays him $1.7 million annually.
Those financial realities will be discussed at length as the season winds to a close, but for now there's still a 3-5 football team that is readying itself for a road test against Miami next Saturday at noon.
The players indicated Saturday that they are still behind Groh, but fullback Rashawn Jackson said the team's primary focus is internal.
"When we're on the field, we're not protecting coach Groh back there, we're protecting Jameel Sewell. We're not blocking for coach (Dave) Borbely, we're blocking for Mikell Simpson," Jackson said. "We have really good coaches, and I love our coaches, but on the field we have to do things for each other."
When asked about the crowd, the players' responses were similar.
"Our house is between the white lines," defensive lineman John-Kevin Dolce said. "Whether it's home or away, we don't necessarily play for our fans. They don't sweat with us, they don't bleed with us, and they don't cry with us."
But even if the players say the right things that the lack of crowd size doesn't bother them there's no question that a loud, motivated fan base is an asset to a team.
The question is how to bring that fan base back after all, as recently as 2007 Scott Stadium was rocking on football Saturdays. The lone answer is to field a winning team.
"Virginia isn't USC, Michigan, Tennessee or Virginia Tech," Jackson said. "The fans here aren't as patient. It's just human nature sometimes when things aren't going well to, you know, I don't want to say tuck your tail, but just to turn your back."
He added that he was more torn up about the fans who stayed and supported the team to the end of the game.
"Those were the guys that made this loss even worse, since they hung in there. I appreciate those fans, and I appreciate their effort," he said. "I'm just disappointed we couldn't help their weekend go a little more smoothly. Hopefully they aren't getting bugged about it at work on Monday."
The road from here won't get any easier for Virginia. The remaining schedule includes games against Miami, Boston College, Clemson and Virginia Tech, all of which have winning records this season.
To become bowl-eligible, the Cavaliers will have to win three of those games.
For now, Groh continues to lead the team, and the players continue to have his back, even as the fan base dwindles.
"We don't even want to think about that," defensive lineman Zane Parr said. "We're just trying to go out there and play as hard as we can to try to get the win."
Cavs take passing attack to new lows
November 2, 2009 12:36 am
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
--Before the Virginia football team took the field against Duke, Cavaliers' coaches noticed quarterback Jameel Sewell seemed more confident than normal.
Sewell bounced around in warm-ups, appearing like a player set to have a big day against a defense ranked 71st in the nation in points allowed.
That energy wasn't a precursor to a big day, however.
Sewell and backup quarterback Marc Verica combined to complete just 13-of-38 passes for 107 yards, an interception and a touchdown.
The paltry passing effort is a major reason why the Cavaliers (3-5, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) went down in a 28-17 loss to Duke.
Virginia head coach Al Groh said despite the futility under center, it's been much more than quarterback play that's doomed the passing game.
"Protection certainly would have to be better. We can all see that. We dropped some balls when we were open. We can all see that. And we missed some receivers who were open. We can all see that," Groh said.
"So in college in football these days, except for some unusual exceptions, a great deal of the scoring comes from the passing game. And when there are problems in three different areas of the passing game, it's difficult to produce the amount of points that are necessary."
The Cavaliers now rank last in the 12-team ACC in total offense (277.5 yards per game) and scoring (21.4 points per game).
They've managed just four offensive touchdowns in ACC play.
That wasn't supposed to happen after Mike Groh was fired as the offensive coordinator last season.
But first-year offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon hasn't provided a spark.
Brandon installed the pass-heavy spread offense at the start of the season, but after it fizzled Groh scrapped it.
Brandon's still calling plays, and Groh refused to critique him in the press conference following the Duke game.
"Offensively, we have to pick it up," senior fullback Rashawn Jackson said. "Our defense is playing well. Offensively we're not taking advantage of the opportunities we have. I feel like once we tie those knots we'll be fine."
One such opportunity came after Virginia sophomore cornerback Chase Minnifield intercepted a Duke pass in the end zone with Virginia leading 17-12 and 8:01 remaining in the game.
The Cavaliers wanted a time-consuming drive with points at the end, but instead they got a three-and-out. Duke then scored 16 points in the final 3:45 to escape with a win.
"Clearly it was a critical stage," Groh said of the possession following Minnifield's interception. "If we can take the ball down the field, we're going to eat up the clock maybe we're going to get more points. That's what good teams have to do offensively. We had the opportunity to respond to a positive circumstance and we didn't do enough with it."
As a result, the Cavaliers are left to wonder about their program. Attendance in Scott Stadium has steadily decreased as Virginia has gone 1-4 at home. Three times this season, the Cavaliers have had their lowest attendance since 2000, including the Duke game when 41,713 showed up.
Still, Virginia players said they have plenty to play for. Their next game is on Saturday at noon when they visit No. 16 Miami.
"This is our team. We're playing for our pride. We're playing for our season," junior defensive lineman John-Kevin Dolce said. "The season's not over. Each battle we have to go to, we're going in with our heads up high and ready to pound whatever team we can."
Coffins, hermaphrodites, Virginia football
Andrew Seidman, Cavalier Daily Senior Associate Editor
November 2, 2009 0
With 5:36 remaining and holding a 17-12 lead in Saturday’s game against Duke, everything was on the line for Virginia — its slim chance of winning the Coastal Division of the ACC, its bowl prospects and whatever was left of coach Al Groh’s job security.
Two minutes and 14 seconds later, the door on Groh’s coffin was nailed shut — or so the mass exodus of fans amid a one-possession game would suggest.
“We put a lot into this — put everything we got into it,” Groh said. “And when you get nothing back in return, it’s a haunting feeling.”
To understand this loss, you need to rid yourself of the misconception that the Blue Devils are Satan incarnate and that their unmatched ineptitude in ACC football somehow offers a proof for the existence of God.
The logic goes something like this: Duke hasn’t defeated an ACC opponent in consecutive seasons in 10 years. That’s a solid decade of looking at football from the perspective of, “At least absolutely nobody cares. When’s the next basketball game?” Duke snaps that streak against Virginia. Therefore, Virginia replaces Duke as the worst team that the worst conference in the BCS has to offer. And at least Duke can still look forward to five months of basketball supremacy.
But this Duke team is not that old Duke football team. David Cutcliffe was the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Tennessee during the Peyton Manning era and became head coach at Mississippi after the Volunteers won the National Championship in 1998. He compiled a 44-29 record in six years at Ole Miss, suffering only one losing season. And in two years as head coach at Duke, Cutcliffe has ushered in a culture of “At least act like you care.”
And it appears that the players do, in fact, care. Senior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis is a legitimate NFL prospect — and he showed why against Virginia.
With 6-foot-4, 255-pound Cam Johnson flying in on an all-out blitz on third-and-9 from the Virginia 42-yard line, Lewis held his ground and fired a tight pass over the middle which hit freshman Conner Vernon in stride. The receiver dashed past senior cornerback Chris Cook, with only open field and the end-zone ahead of him. Lewis fell to the ground, but his team seized a lead with 3:45 remaining, which it never relinquished.
But this was just one of many crucial plays Lewis conducted with the poise Virginia so clearly lacked in the last five minutes. Duke converted nine of 20 third downs, including a couple of smart, tricky plays that only a team and a coach set on winning would call and execute. On the first third down of the game, just as Virginia’s defensive replacements hurried onto the field, Lewis took a quick snap and immediately plunged forward for a 3-yard gain and a first down. The unexpected timing threw the Cavaliers off guard, and demonstrated that the Blue Devils, or more specifically Lewis, was going to control the pace of the game.
On its next possession, Duke faced third-and-1 from the Virginia 37-yard line. Lewis walked back from the line of scrimmage and turned to the sideline, as if to receive a signal from the coaching staff to clarify the play-call. Meanwhile, freshman running back Desmond Scott, who was standing right beside Lewis, took a direct snap from the shotgun and rushed up the middle for a first down. Mix these “trick” plays in with Lewis’s polished, accurate passing, and you see a developed, nuanced offensive attack. You see a coach and a quarterback who know how to win — which raises an important question: does Virginia have that swagger, that confidence that it knows it is going to win? Could you ever see Groh calling those smart third-down plays? I certainly cannot. The Cavaliers converted only four of 16 third downs — all too often, senior quarterback Jameel Sewell made the easy 7-yard passes look difficult, throwing the ball over the head of a wide-open Vic Hall, who is only 5 feet 9 inches tall.
But I don’t want to blame Sewell for this loss. Sure, his first quarter statistics — 0-5 with an interception — are highly entertaining. And he is not the most accurate of passers — even Sewell has acknowledged that. But I don’t have a single doubt that his teammates believe in him and that for all his flaws, he is infinitely better than junior quarterback Marc Verica.
It is fitting that after Sewell left the game with an undisclosed injury near the beginning of the second quarter, Virginia incurred a false start penalty on Verica’s first play. This hesitance — though clearly not Verica’s fault on this particular play — manifested itself throughout the quarter. At first, Verica only attempted short screen passes, probably to get into the flow of the game. When those didn’t work, he naturally decided to toss a jump ball to the undersized Hall, who quickly summoned his cornerback skills to bat the ball down from the taller defender. Let’s just say jump balls aren’t meant for the little guy. It was evident that while Verica was in the game, Virginia would be complacent to settle for field goals and to let the Cavalier defense keep the team in the game. The result at halftime: three points and 81 total yards. Nice.
If there was one benefit to Verica’s presence, it was that Groh and offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon finally decided to try running the ball with their 245-pound senior fullback Rashawn Jackson. Virginia had recorded only one first down until Verica handed the ball off to Jackson on second-and-15 from the Duke 46, at which point Jackson gained the necessary 15 yards for a first down, immediately placing the Cavaliers in field goal range. Just like that.
“I knew — okay, well [Jameel is] gonna be out for a few, so I need to run the ball and help keep us in the game, ‘cause he’s obviously one of our playmakers,” Jackson said. “I figured if I can just hold my half until Jameel gets back, everything will be fine. Next thing you know, sure enough, he’s back in the game. That was pretty good for the team’s morale — a lot of guys liked that — it was like a breath of fresh air, sort of.”
Sewell’s final statistics were not impressive: 8-22 for 86 yards passing and an interception. But what was impressive was Sewell’s toughness. When he returned to the game at the start of the second half from an undisclosed injury — one that probably affected his right ankle, which he has sprained and aggravated over the past few weeks — he immediately took charge of the offense, completing passes to freshman receiver Tim Smith and sophomore wide-out Jared Green. After a 16-yard burst by Jackson from the shotgun formation, Sewell found Hall in the slot for a 10-yard pass over the middle. From the 1-yard line, Sewell sacrificed his body and risked further injury to his ankle by plunging the ball in for a touchdown — something the Cavaliers could not do in the red zone last week against Georgia Tech.
Sewell is not the reason for this loss — he took the lead after sustaining an injury, and added to it with a perfect 19-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Joe Torchia, whose hands often take the form of solid rocks. Quite simply, the senior put his team in a position to win.
Maybe you think his fumble at the Virginia 7-yard line cost his team the game. But I’ll tell you that the offensive line laid an egg Saturday — it didn’t show up in the box score as the line only allowed two sacks — but it was evident every time Sewell had to scramble from the pocket or make a hasty throw.
Maybe you think Groh should not have employed such a conservative offensive strategy after sophomore cornerback Chase Minnifield intercepted Lewis’ pass in the back of the end zone with eight minutes remaining in the game. But I have no problem with the decision to give the ball to Jackson — he’s the team’s most effective runner, he’s huge and can milk the clock. In hindsight, the strategy didn’t work, but don’t label it as “playing not to lose.” I think running the ball with one of your best players when you have the lead safely fits into the “playing to win” paradigm. It certainly seemed so when Jackson rushed for 43 yards in the fourth quarter of Virginia’s 20-9 win against Maryland.
And aside from a couple lapses in coverage in the final five minutes, Virginia’s defense did a fine job of limiting Duke to field goals and stifling Lewis in the red zone.
And, after listening to Jackson, you can’t tell me this team doesn’t believe in Jameel Sewell. If you think that, you’re flat-out wrong.
All these signs suggest a team that’s not going to give up on its coach or quarterback just yet. Sitting at 3-5, Jackson offered an interesting analogy to assess where the team stands.
“I really feel like we’re a lot better than what our record shows, but I also agree you are what you are,” Jackson said. “When you’re born — your mom either has a boy or a girl — there’s no in between … How many Jamie Lee’s are there?”
Cavaliers playing it out
By Jay Jenkins
Published: November 2, 2009
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It was unclear entering the season what it would take for Virginia coach Al Groh to march into the 2010 campaign.
Some guessed it would take a postseason appearance.
Others were of the opinion that the Cavaliers needed a winning record and win over rival Virginia Tech, a program that Groh is 1-7 against.
Both scenarios seem unlikely after Virginia (3-5, 2-2 ACC) collapsed in the final four minutes en route to a 28-17 setback against Duke.
The loss gives the Cavaliers the worst mark among the programs in the league over their past 22 games, respectively, at
8-14 overall. Even Duke, a team without a bowl berth since 1995, is 9-13 during that span after upsetting Virginia for the second straight year.
Despite the woeful numbers and the apparent changes coming at the McCue Center, Virginia’s players will attempt to win for Groh and each other.
“Of course we are playing for the coaches,” Virginia running back Rashawn Jackson said. “Of course we are, but when we are on the field we are not protecting Coach Groh. We are protecting Jameel Sewell. Will Barker isn’t blocking for Coach [Dave] Borbely. He is blocking for Rashawn.
“Of course we play for our coaches. We have really good coaches, really good people and I love our coaches, but when we are on the field we have to do things for each
That was the case against Duke, but 17 unanswered points in the final 3:25 left the Cavaliers winless at Scott Stadium in six of the past seven games.
“[The coaches] call the plays and we execute them. Unfortunately, we didn’t execute to my expectation or to anyone’s expectation on the offense,” Jackson said. “Now we find ourself in a hole. I really feel like we should have won this game.
“I feel like we should have won a lot of these games that we lost, but not to harp on the past so I am ready for [practice] and ready for Miami.”
The mindset heading to Miami for Saturday’s game, which starts at noon, will be monitored, as it is throughout the season, Groh said.
“I am always concerned about the players’ frame of mind regardless what the outcome is,” he said. “That’s the most significant factor in being ready for the next week. This is one that I am sure that we are all disappointed in.
“We did some things, with all due credit to Duke, they made plays and they deserve credit for doing that. By the same token, I think from our side we can say we did some things to give the game away.”
Groh said he felt as he does after every defeat: “hurt from losing.”
“We put a lot into this,” he added. “[We] put everything we got into it. When you get nothing back in return it is a haunting feeling.”
Apparently, that was what the masses that attended the contest felt. The smallest crowd in a decade left in near unison after Duke took a 25-17 in the fourth quarter.
The players noticed.
“This is UVa. This isn’t Michigan or LSU or Tennessee or Virginia Tech. Fans here aren’t that patient,” Jackson said. “It is natural, I guess it is human nature sometimes when things aren’t looking good to kind of … I don’t want to say tuck your tail, but just to turn your back. What really stuck out to me was fans screaming on the sidelines, ‘Rashawn, UVa, Go Hoos, we love you [and] we are here for you.’
“Those were the guys who make this loss feel even worse, because they were really hanging in there for us and they were really giving us their all. I appreciate that effort. I appreciate those fans and those people who stayed and finished watching the game. I was disappointed I couldn’t help those people’s weekend go a little bit smoother. Hopefully, they aren’t getting bugged about it at work on Monday. I am sure that some of them might and that is even more disappointing. There is nothing I can do about it now and it is all in the past. I have to focus on tomorrow and have to focus on Miami.”
UVa comes up big in season finale
By Whitey Reid
Published: November 2, 2009
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An ACC tournament without Virginia in it would have seemed a little odd.
Well, that won’t be happening now — not after the second-straight clutch performance by the Wahoos.
On Sunday afternoon, Virginia brought its ‘A’ game against Miami when it absolutely had to have it. Paced by a Sinead Farrelly goal in the 54th minute, UVa defeated the Hurricanes, 2-0, on a chilly, overcast day at Klockner Stadium.
With the win, Virginia advanced to the ACC tournament under coach Steve Swanson for the ninth straight year, and eliminated Miami in the process. UVa (9-5-4) will likely play Boston College in a first-round game on Wednesday in Cary, N.C.
If Virginia hadn’t beaten both Florida State and Miami this weekend, it would have very likely missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1993 (in addition to the ACC tournament.)
“It was a great result for us,” said Swanson. “It was like an NCAA championship weekend for us. It was nice to get these two wins.
“We certainly helped our postseason chances, that’s for sure.”
Coming into the game, UVa needed a win or tie to qualify for the tournament, while Miami
(8-10-1, 3-6-1) needed a victory. That made for a pressure-packed atmosphere. Almost from the outset, Virginia was the aggressor. Miami, which had blown a game at Virginia Tech on Friday night, seemed a bit hesitant.
Virginia, meanwhile, buoyed by an upset win over No. 4-ranked FSU, appeared confident.
“It was really intense, especially at the end,” said Virginia senior Amanda Stewart. “I know both teams had a lot to play for. There was a lot of heart and emotion out there on the field for both teams.
“This was our season, so there was more to fight for. There was no second chance or something to bounce back from. I’m just happy we finished on the good end of it.”
In the first half, UVa outshot the visitors 13-1. Finally, in the 54th minute, Virginia broke through. Lauren Alwine zoomed up the left wing. After evading a Miami defender, Alwine blasted a shot off the near post that careened right to Farrelly near the top of the box.
Farrelly, who notched the game-winner in the win over FSU, drilled a shot past Hurricane goalie Vikki Alonzo to give Virginia a 1-0 lead.
“I was lucky I wasn’t marked, and I just placed it,” Farrelly said.
Swanson said Farrelly’s play has been more than luck.
“It’s one thing to be in the right spot, and it’s another thing to actually finish them,” Swanson said. “She’s just been clutch for us all season and honestly I haven’t seen a better player in the country. We’re very fortunate and the fans are lucky to have someone like Sinead they can watch day in and day out…that’s a great player.”
In the 81st minute, Alwine gave Virginia a much-needed insurance goal when she took a pass from Kika Toulouse and one-timed a shot past Alonzo from 12 yards out.
From there, Virginia, thanks to solid play in goal from Chantel Jones (two saves), churned out the victory. Jones made a beautiful stop of a Miami header from point-blank range in the 88th minute, which was essentially the Hurricane’s last gasp.
“Suddenly, everything has turned around — and it’s perfect timing,” Jones said. “I think other teams are kind of peaking right now, but we’re still on the rise.
“It’s really looking good for us right now.”
Cavaliers Down Miami 2-0 in Regular Season Finale
Courtesy: VirginiaSports.com Release: 11/01/2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE – The Virginia women’s soccer team concluded the regular season Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Miami at Klöckner Stadium. The Cavaliers got two second half goals and posted their fourth consecutive shutout to improve to 9-5-4 overall (4-4-2 ACC) and clinch a berth on the ACC Tournament.
“This win capped a tremendous weekend for our team,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “It has been a while since we had a couple good performances in a row and were rewarded with victories for them, so to win today after the Florida State win on Friday is a good feeling. This gives us a lot of momentum heading into the ACC Tournament.”
The first half was completely dominated by the Cavaliers, outshooting the Hurricanes 13-1 before intermission. However, Virginia couldn’t take advantage of those chances and the game remained scoreless at the break. The Cavaliers continued the pressure in the second half and it paid off in the 54th minute. Lauren Alwine’s (Elizabethtown, Pa.) shot rattled the post and the rebound came right to Sinead Farrelly (Havertown, Pa.), who scored her seventh goal of the season. Virginia continued to have the better of chances and added an insurance goal in the 81st minute. Kika Toulouse (Arlington, Va.) sent a free kick into the box that fell to Alwine, who slotted home her sixth goal of the season.
“We did a good job in the first half of getting a hold of the game and playing at a good tempo,” said Swanson. “We were knocking on the door and we just didn’t make that last play to get a better chance at goal. I was confident we would get one and in the second half we settled down a little a got better looks. Lauren blasted her shot off the post and it fell right to Sinead, who just buried it. That was the goal we needed.”
Overall, Virginia had a 24-5 shot advantage, and a 10-2 corner kick edge. Chantel Jones (Midlothian, Va.) made two saves in net to record her fourth consecutive shutout and her eighth of the season. Vikki Alonzo made four saves for the Hurricanes.
“This was like a NCAA Tournament weekend for us because of the results we needed to get,” said Swanson. “To get a pair of wins says a lot about our team and certainly helped our postseason chances.”
The Cavaliers travel to Cary, N.C. next week for the ACC Tournament. Play begins Wednesday with the quarterfinals at the WakeMed Soccer Park. Pairings and times will be announced on Monday by the ACC.
VIRGINIA 2, MIAMI 0
Miami (8-10-1, 3-6-1) 0 0 - 0
Virginia (9-5-4, 4-4-2) 0 2 - 2
UVa. Sinead Farrelly 7 (Lauren Alwine 8) 54’
UVa. Lauren Alwine 6 (Kika Toulouse 1) 81’
Shots: UVa 24, UM 5
Corners: UVa 10, UM 2
Saves: UVa 2 (Jones 2), UM 4 (Alonzo 4)
Fouls: UVa 9, UM 10
Weather: 54 degrees, overcast
Singh moves on at VNB
By The Daily Progress Staff
Published: November 2, 2009
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Virginia’s Sanam Singh was among the winners Sunday at the Virginia National Bank Men’s Tennis Challenger at The Boar’s Head Sports Club.
Singh upended Australia’s Adam Hubble to advance to today’s final round of qualifying play. Singh, a junior, faces and will try to capture one of the four qualifier spots in the main draw.
Six other Cavalier team members competed on Sunday, but none advanced.
Michael Shabaz fell in a hard-fought three-set match to Russia’s Fritz Wolmarans (6-7 (12), 6-4, 7-6 (6)) that included a pair of exciting tiebreakers.
Today’s play begins with four final round qualifying matches, and main draw play follows. U.Va. grads Treat Huey and Dom Inglot will make their tournament debuts in afternoon matches.
Monday also includes the first of the tournament’s nightly feature matches. At
6 p.m. Americans Scoville Jenkins and Jesse Witten will take on Roko Karanusic of Croatia and Grega Zemlja on Slovenia.
The feature singles match pits veteran tour pro and two-time Olympian Vince Spadea and rising star Donald Young.
Virginia splits weekend pair of Florida matchups
Cavaliers survive five-set Miami thriller, fall to ranked Seminoles
Abbey Lou Hendricks, Cavalier Daily Associate Editor
Sports / Volleyball
November 2, 2009
Riding a two-game winning streak, the Virginia women’s volleyball team split its weekend slate of games at Memorial Gym.
The Cavaliers (10-14, 5-8 ACC) dropped a match Saturday against No. 17 Florida State but hung on to beat Miami (14-9, 7-6 ACC) in a five-set thriller Sunday.
Friday night, the Seminoles (21-2, 12-1 ACC) stayed true to their ranking, sweeping Virginia in every set, 25-12, 26-24, and 25-19.
Florida State relied on its wide range of hitters to pace its offense. Six different players for the Seminoles tallied five or more kills in the match. Senior middle Brianna Barry and junior outside hitter Stephanie Neville led the team with nine kills each.
“It just came down to how well we could limit what Florida State does offensively,” Virginia coach Lee Maes said. “They’re a really strong offensive team especially with the amount of hitters that can put the ball down.”
Against such a wide array of offensive ability, preparing for a team like Florida State proved difficult.
“We know the game plan and everything, but then once they start doing something different, we freak out,” senior libero Brittani Rendina said. “We forget sometimes to just play volleyball, do what we know, have fun, and relax. I think that was our biggest problem.”
Sophomore outside hitter Simone Asque led the offense with 10 kills, and Rendina had the same number of digs to lead the defense.
After their loss to the Seminoles, the Cavaliers were determined not to drop matches against two Florida opponents in the same weekend. Sunday against Miami, Virginia took control from the opening set. The Cavaliers dominated and easily came out on top, 25-18.
Intensity from both teams fueled the second set, with nine tie scores and two lead changes. Eventually, though, the Hurricanes took the set, 25-23. In the third set, Virginia could not keep an early lead, and Miami again emerged victorious, 25-22.
Facing defeat in the fourth set, however, the Cavaliers rebounded. Asque, junior middle Sydney Hill and freshman setter Rachel Gray provided some key hits and defensive plays to overcome a draw at 20 points. The Hurricanes and Cavaliers both made crucial service and hitting errors, but an attack error by Miami proved the most disastrous. At the time, Virginia held a 24-23 lead, and the Hurricanes’ error ended the set and prevented them from taking the round to extra points. Riding the fourth set’s momentum, Virginia took the fifth and final set.
“First and foremost, the serving and passing game was much better then Miami’s,” Maes said.
For the 13th game in a row, Asque topped Virginia’s attack, notching a career-high 29 kills. Junior right side hitter Kendahl Voelker added 14 kills and five blocks. Gray contributed 53 assists to go along with her 18 digs, earning her fourth career double-double. Rendina anchored the defense with a season-best 34 digs, marking her second 30-plus dig game of her career.
“Personally I kind of just had a reality check, I have seven games left period in my career, and I don’t want any regrets,” Rendina said.
Virginia also out-blocked Miami 11-9 and totaled nine service aces.
“Ultimately it came down to our team doing a consistent job in executing a defensive game plan, and when we can have everybody on the same page, that gives our whole team confidence and it gives us an opportunity to win,” Maes said.
With only seven conference games left, Virginia hopes to sustain that level of intensity.
“There’s a really big sense of urgency now — like, no more chances, crunch time, got to perform,” Rendina said.
The Cavaliers hit the road this weekend to play rivals North Carolina and N.C. State on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
White: Behind the Scenes with ... Howard Goodman
Courtesy: VirginiaSports.com Release: 10/26/2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- So, you work for the UVa athletics department and your computer malfunctions or your wireless connection disappears. Who you gonna call?
Howard Goodman, of course.
VirginiaSports.com regularly checks in with members of the athletics department who play vital roles but generally operate outside of the public eye. Few are more critical to the daily operation of the department than Goodman and his staff.
Goodman is a busy man, but he made the short walk from his office in University Hall to mine the other day to talk about work and, in some cases, play.
Title: Manager of information systems
Tenure: Goodman, 59, has been at the University since 1996, when he was hired for a position in Academic Computing Health Sciences (ACHS). He moved to Information Technology and Communication (ITC) in '97 before joining the athletics department in '99. "It's very inspiring to see the efforts of other people here, not only the student-athletes, but the support staff," he says. "There's a lot of people here that put in 80-hour weeks that people don't know about."
Education: Goodman, a native of Providence, R.I., attended Boston University and later earned a bachelor's in sociology from the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Family: Goodman's wife, Claire, is an Interfaith minister who specializes in personalized wedding ceremonies. Goodman has three children -- son Dave and daughters Asha and Jai -- and a stepson, Justin. Dave works in D.C., Asha in New York City and Justin in Charlottesville. Jai is a student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
Back in the day: Goodman moved here in 1982 at the invitation of a friend who owned the first Apple Computers store in Charlottesville. "Computers were really just getting started at that point," Goodman recalls. "My friend wanted me to fix computers, and my response was, 'I don't know much about computers.' He said, 'That's OK, no one else knows much either.' It was kind of learn as you go." His first computer: an Apple II Plus, in 1982.
Career path: Goodman left Charlottesville for a couple of years to work as service manager for the Apple store in Alexandria, then returned around 1984. Save a short stint in radio sales, his professional life has revolved around computers for the past 27 years. Given that computers have become ubiquitous, Goodman chose his profession wisely, most would agree. "I didn't have foresight," he says. "I just got lucky, I guess." And now, he says, "I have the best job, because I have the love of athletics and the love of computers, and I'm able to combine them."
Fab four: When Goodman started in the athletics department, his staff consisted of Charles Drumheller, then a half-time employee. His office has grown considerably. Drumheller is now the staff's hardware expert. Melissa Simmons works with software and training and is the resident BlackBerry specialist. Beth Huckstep manages the office, and James Baldys is the web programmer. "Great staff of dedicated people," Goodman says.
Off the clock: Goodman works out regularly at the Aquatic and Fitness Center and also practices yoga, which he studied and taught long before it attained its current popularity. A lifelong Boston Red Sox fan -- he's a son of New England, after all -- he was the P.A. announcer for UVa baseball games at Davenport Field from 2000 to '08.
On-line: Most of the 250 or so people who work in UVa athletics have computers, Goodman says. Those who don't have computers have access to them. Also assigned to department employees are more than 100 BlackBerry phones, "which are computers themselves," Goodman says. "Computers are everywhere. The athletics department couldn't run without them, as most businesses couldn't." Most computers in the department are Macs.
Wait, there's more: Goodman and his staff manage three computer labs for student-athletes -- in the McCue Center, U-Hall and John Paul Jones Arena -- and are responsible for maintaining various servers, as well as the staff website. Moreover, "we take care of stats at all [home] events," Goodman says. "One of us, usually me, is at every football and basketball game."
Favorite UVa sports memory: After considering several worthy possibilities, Goodman went with a classic -- the Feb. 14, 2001, men's basketball game between Virginia and Duke at sold-out University Hall. The 'Hoos won 91-89 on Adam Hall's last-second lay-in off a pass from Roger Mason Jr. Pandemonium ensued when the final horn sounded.
-- Jeff White