SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The No. 8 Virginia women’s golf team returns to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2019 when the Cavaliers open play Friday (May 20) at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Cavaliers qualified for the 24-team field after placing second at the Ann Arbor Regional. Four teams from each of six regional sites advances to the national championship.

The NCAA Championships crown both a team and individual champion. In addition to the 24 teams in the field, 12 individual players also advanced from regional competition from teams that did not qualify. After three days (May 20-22) of stroke play, the field is reduced to 15 teams and the top nine individuals not on one of those teams for the fourth round (May 23) that will decide the individual champion. The top eight teams from stroke play advance to two days (May 24-25) of match play competition to determine the NCAA Champion.

Virginia tees off Friday from the 10th tee starting at 12:25 p.m. MT while paired with Alabama and Arizona State. Those three teams will start their second round from the first tee on Saturday at 7:25 a.m. MT time. The third round is repaired based on the team standings. It starts at 6:30 a.m. MT while Monday’s final round of stroke play starts at 10 a.m.

The Cavaliers along with Florida State and Wake Forest will represent the ACC at the tournament. A total of 10 ACC teams competed at regional sites.

The Virginia Lineup
Name              Year  Hometown           Stroke Avg.
Jennifer Cleary   So.   Wilmington, Del.    72.63
Beth Lillie       Gr.   Fullerton, Calif.   73.63
Amanda Sambach    Fr.   Pinehurst, N.C.     72.70
Rebecca Skoler    So.   Needham, Mass.      74.62
Riley Smyth       Sr.   Cary, N.C.          74.38
Celeste Valinho   Jr.   Jacksonville, Fla.  73.74
Note: Five individuals compete in each round with teams having the opportunity to substitute in a sixth player.

In the Rankings   Golfstat   Golfweek
Virginia           8th         11th
Amanda Sambach     39th        38th
Jennifer Cleary    41st        48th
Beth Lillie       104th       112th
Celeste Valinho   122nd       115th

The Field (based on seed)
Stanford (1), Oregon (2), South Carolina (3), Wake Forest (4), San Jose State (5), Oklahoma State (6), Arizona State (7), Virginia (8), Alabama (9), Florida State (10), USC (11), Texas (12), LSU (13), UCLA (14), Baylor (15), Auburn (16), Arkansas (17), Texas A&M (18), Michigan (19), Georgia (20), TCU (21), Mississippi State (22), Vanderbilt (23) and Purdue (24).

NCAA Experience
UVA’s roster includes two players with previous experience at the NCAA Championships. Graduate student Beth Lillie was ninth in stroke play at the 2021 event that also took place at Grayhawk Golf Club. She shot even par 288 including a final round of 2-under 70. Lillie was 43rd at the 2019 NCAAs and placed 105th as a freshman in 2018. Senior Riley Smyth was 61st in 2019 as a freshman.

NCAA History
Virginia is making its 12th NCAA Championships appearance in the 19-year history of the program. UVA’s best finish at the NCAAs were back-to-back fourth-place showings in 2011 and 2012. In 2016, the Cavaliers finished fifth in stroke play and lost to Washington 3-1-1 in the quarterfinals of match play. In its last team appearance, UVA was 14th at the 2019 tournament held at The Blessings Club in Fayetteville, Ark. Senior Anna Redding (Concord, N.C.) was UVA’s top finisher, placing 29th at 8-over 227.

Graduates on the Greens
Two Cavaliers competing at the NCAAs are scheduled to earn degrees from the University this weekend. Senior Riley Smyth will receive her undergraduate degree in economics while graduate student Beth Lillie earns her master’s in higher education in intercollegiate athletic administration. She previously completed her undergrad degree in politics. UVA’s Final Exercises take place on Grounds on Saturday and Sunday.

Regional Recap
The Cavaliers placed second at the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional on at the University of Michigan Golf Course. Virginia, the number-two seed at the regional site, finished second with a 54-hole total of 13-over 865. Top-seed San Jose State used a late final-round surge to move past the Cavaliers on the leaderboard and finish first at 10-over 862. UVA’s finish matched its best showing at an NCAA Regional site in the program’s 19-year history. The Cavaliers were the runners-up at the 2018 event in Madison, Wisc. The Cavaliers were led by fifth-place finishes from freshman Amanda Sambach and sophomore Jennifer Cleary. They finished the tournament at 2-over 215. Junior Celeste Valinho was 11th at 4-over 217 and graduate student Beth Lillie was 19th at 9-over 222.

Live scoring for NCAA Championships will be online at Golf Channel will provide live coverage of the final three days of competition.