Virginia’s 2014-15 Year in Review

A school-best three NCAA championships in one season propelled Virginia to a sixth-place finish in the final 2014-15 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup competition for Division I schools.

Virginia captured NCAA championships in men’s soccer, men’s tennis and its first-ever title in baseball to mark its second straight top-10 finish in the Directors’ Cup standings. The Cavaliers established an ACC record with NCAA championships in three men’s sports in one season and placed in the top 20 in the Directors’ Cup standings for the ninth consecutive year.

Virginia is one of 13 schools to rank in the top 30 of the final Directors’ Cup standings in the 22-year existence of the program.

Points in the Director’s Cup standings are awarded by a school’s finish in each sport in which it competes in NCAA postseason play. Each school may count its highest finishes in 10 men’s sports and 10 women’s sports.

“The first NCAA championship by our baseball team provided a great culmination to a memorable year in Virginia athletics,” athletics director Craig Littlepage said. “The NCAA team titles won by the baseball, men’s soccer, and men’s tennis programs led us to our fifth top-10 Directors’ Cup finish in the last seven years. This success wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and commitment of our student-athletes, coaches, and support staff and the dedication and assistance of our administration, donors and fans.

“It’s going to take a significant effort by everyone associated with Virginia athletics to be `All In For Excellence’ and position all of our programs for success as we strive to reach our 10-year goals that include graduating 100 percent of our student-athletes and winning 12 NCAA championships and 70 ACC titles.”

In addition to its three NCAA championships, the women’s soccer team placed second nationally and the women’s swimming and diving and rowing programs each finished fifth. Women’s cross country finished 15th nationally and women’s tennis advanced to the NCAA Round of 16.

UVa captured six Atlantic Coast Conference championships and its 69 conference titles since the spring of 2002 are the most of any ACC school during that time. In 2014-15, UVa won ACC championships in women’s golf (first ever), rowing (sixth consecutive and 15th in 16 years), men’s tennis (ninth consecutive and 11th in the last 12 years), women’s tennis (second consecutive), women’s swimming and diving (eighth consecutive) and wrestling (first since 2010).

Individually, Leah Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa.) claimed NCAA swimming titles in the 500 Free and 1,650 Free and Ryan Shane (Falls Church, Va.) won the NCAA singles championship in men’s tennis. In rowing, the Varsity Four boat of coxswain Julia Roithmayr (Yorktown, Va.), Maggie Bowman-Jones(Moss Beach, Calif.), Marijane Brennan (Gross Pointe Farms, Mich.) and Hannah Solis-Cohen (New York, N.Y.) claimed the national title. Women’s soccer midfielder Morgan Brian (St. Simons Island, Ga.) earned the Hermann Trophy as national player of the year for the second consecutive season.

Tony Bennett (men’s basketball) was named National Coach of the Year and ACC Coach of the Year. Augie Busch (women’s swimming and diving), Kevin Sauer (rowing) and Kim Lewellen (women’s golf) also earned ACC Coach of the Year honors in 2014-15.

Additional highlights of Virginia’s 2014-15 athletics year included:
– 20 of UVa’s 25 athletic programs advanced to NCAA postseason competition
– The men’s soccer team reached the NCAA tournament for the 34th straight season — the longest active streak in Division I men’s soccer.
– The wrestling team captured the 2015 ACC Championship, winning its first ACC crown since 2010 and the fifth in program history.
– The women’s tennis team (23-6) claimed its second consecutive ACC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 for the fifth consecutive season.
– Julia Elbaba won the USTA/ITA National Indoor Singles title and earned Virginia’s first No. 1 singles ranking during the season
– The men’s basketball team claimed its second consecutive ACC regular-season title and matched a school record with 30 victories
– Darion Atkins earned the Lefty Driesell Award as the National Defensive Player of the Year – The ACC regular-season co-champion field hockey team was ranked as high as No. 3 in the NFHCA polls this season.
– Field hockey player Tara Vittese led the ACC in points per game, earning First-Team All-America honors as well as being named the ACC Freshman of the Year in her rookie campaign.
– The women’s lacrosse team earned its 20th-consecutive NCAA Tournament bid, being named the No. 7 national seed.
– Women’s lacrosse senior Courtney Swan, in addition to earning IWLCA All-America honors, also earned Capital One Academic All-America Third-Team honors as well as being named the ACC Women’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
– Women’s swimming and diving won its eighth-consecutive ACC Championship and finished fifth at the NCAA Championships, its highest team finish ever
– Jennifer Marrkand was named ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Freshman of the Year
– Football’s Quin Blanding was the ACC’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and named a Freshman All-American by a myriad of media outlets after finishing No. 2 in the ACC, No. 17 nationally and No. 1 among the nation’s freshmen with 10.3 tackles per game
– Men’s lacrosse reached the NCAA Tournament for the 37th time in program history and the 21st time under head coach Dom Starsia
– Women’s Soccer reached the College Cup for the second consecutive year, finishing as runner-up for the highest finish in program history
– Men’s track & field and cross country finished a school-record fifth in the USTFCCCA Program of the Year Rankings
– Men’s outdoor track and field finished a school-record 17th at the NCAA Championships
– Women’s golf tied for 20th at the NCAA Championships – The men’s golf team finished 18th at the NCAA Championships
– Men’s golfer Denny McCarthy helped Team USA to the World Amateur Team Championship and finished 42nd at the 2015 U.S. Open

Virginia student-athletes registered an outstanding academic performance during the Spring 2015 semester. The overall GPA for UVa’s 635 student-athletes in Spring 2015 was 3.022, the highest spring semester mark since 2003. A total of 83.17 percent of UVa’s student-athletes earned a GPA of 2.5 or better with 56.41 percent recording a mark of 3.0 or better.

A total of 11 student-athletes earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average during the semester.

A total of 314 Cavalier student-athletes were named to the 2014-15 ACC Academic Honor Roll, including 30 who were recognized for the fourth time during their careers.

Of UVa’s 23 athletics programs, 14 earned a GPA of 3.0 or better during the semester. The women’s soccer team recorded the highest GPA (3.38) among women’s programs and the men’s tennis team recorded the highest GPA (3.37) to lead men’s programs.

There were 11 teams that improved their team GPA from Spring of 2014 to Spring of 2015. That group included the sport programs of baseball, women’s cross country, field hockey, football, women’s golf, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, rowing, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and men’s tennis.

Four Cavalier athletic programs recorded their highest cumulative GPA in the last 12 years. That group features the women’s lacrosse, rowing, women’s soccer and men’s tennis teams.