Last March, COVID-19 cut the collegiate sports season short. March Madness and the College World Series were among the canceled championships.
This spring, UVa is embarking on one of the busiest stretches in the history of the athletic program. While the pandemic remains a consistent threat to cancel games, many of Virginia’s teams plan on competing in the coming months.
UVa offered an update Tuesday on its COVID-19 situation, while also sharing another schedule of a fall Olympic sport team hoping to compete this spring.
COVID-19 testing update
UVa athletics shared its latest COVID-19 testing update Tuesday. The athletic department administered 1,110 COVID-19 tests to student-athletes and staff members from Feb. 1-7. Of those tests, eight returned positive results.
Student-athletes and staff members who test positive are required to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Those who are deemed close contact to people who test positive will self-quarantine for at least a week.
Since UVa began testing student-athletes and staff members on July 5, a total of 19,440 COVID-19 tests have been administered. Of those tests, 146 returned positive results.
Field hockey shares spring schedule
After playing in the fall, the Virginia field hockey team is among the group of Olympic sport programs competing again in the spring. There’s an NCAA Tournament this spring, and UVa will play a seven-game slate before any postseason action.
UVa’s schedule features a nonconference game with James Madison as well as games against six ACC foes. The Cavaliers begin their spring schedule on March 5 with a game against Duke.
Virginia faces Louisville on March 13, JMU on March 21 and Wake Forest on March 27 to wrap up the month. UVa plays three times in April, starting with Boston College on April 2. A week later, UVa hosts North Carolina. The Tar Heels won the ACC championship this fall. UVa’s spring season concludes against Syracuse on April 15.
The ACC’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament will be determined in a one-game playoff on April 23. The team with the best conference record in the spring will face UNC in Chapel Hill for the conference’s automatic berth.
It’s a tough road into the NCAA Tournament for teams that don’t win conference titles. The NCAA Tournament will include just 12 teams — instead of the usual 16 — with 10 teams making the tournament via automatic qualification awarded for winning a conference. Only two at-large berths are offered this spring.
Women’s golf signee to play in Augusta
Amanda Sambach, a UVa women’s golf signee who will join the program in the fall, will play in the 2021 Augusta National Women’s Amateur. The news was announced Tuesday.
This will be the second iteration of the event, which began in 2019. Former UVa golfer Anna Redding competed in the inaugural event, advancing to the third and final round of the tournament. The final round is held at Augusta National Golf Club, the site of The Masters. Redding became the first woman to tee off at Augusta National in a championship event.
The 2020 event was canceled due to the pandemic, but Sambach will tee it up this spring. Sambach, one of the best amateur players in the country, was invited to the event in January of 2020 and has only improved her game in the subsequent year. She’s reached No. 3 in the American Junior Golf Association national rankings, and she’s currently ranked 30th.
The event begins on March 31 at the Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. After two rounds, the field is cut to 30 players. The entire field enjoys the opportunity to play a practice round at Augusta National on April 2, before the final round takes place at Augusta National.
Women’s lacrosse picked fourth in ACC
The Virginia women’s lacrosse team was picked to finish fourth in the ACC this spring by league coaches. UNC, Notre Dame and Syracuse were picked ahead of the Wahoos.
The Cavaliers went 5-3 in 2020 before the season ended prematurely due to COVID-19. They begin their spring campaign Monday when they host East Carolina.
Virginia is led by a veteran group, which includes eight returning starters. Among those starters is Ashlyn McGovern, who was a preseason All-ACC at-large selection. She’s UVa’s top returning attacker from a season ago after scoring 15 goals across eight games.