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UVa sports notebook: Men’s basketball moves up rankings, COVID cancels volleyball match

UVa sports notebook: Men’s basketball moves up rankings, COVID cancels volleyball match

The 2021 spring is unlike any collegiate sports season we’ve seen.

COVID-19 remains a threat to cancel or postpone games, but athletic programs across the country continue competing.

The virus, coupled with a desire to play games, makes for days with contrasting news. Monday was one of those days.

In the University of Virginia sports community, a sporting event scheduled for Friday was canceled due to the virus. Later in the day, a fall sports program announced an eight-game spring schedule. Also scattered into the busy news day was the announcement of the latest men’s basketball AP top 25 poll, which kept UVa in the top 10 after a productive week.

UVa’s athletic department also shared its latest COVID-19 testing numbers Monday. The department administered 1,871 COVID-19 tests from Feb. 8-14. Of those tests, 33 were positive for the virus.

Since the athletic department started testing student-athletes and staff members on July 5, 21,311 tests have been administered. Of those tests 179 have been positive for the virus.

Volleyball match canceled

On Monday, the Virginia volleyball team announced the cancellation of its lone spring nonconference match. The Cavaliers were scheduled to host UMBC on Friday, but canceled the match due to COVID-19 issues within their program. The match won’t be rescheduled.

The Cavaliers, who went 1-8 in the fall, are next scheduled to play at Pittsburgh on March 6. The match against the Panthers begins a 10-game ACC slate this spring.

The cancellation due to COVID-19 issues was announced Monday, which gives the Cavaliers nearly three weeks to get healthy before playing Pitt in early March.

Men’s basketball moves up rankings

Wins over Georgia Tech and North Carolina helped propel the Virginia men’s basketball team higher in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll. The Cavaliers came in at No. 7 this week, up from the No. 9 spot they occupied last week.

Tony Bennett’s team is the highest ranked team in the ACC, and the only conference program inside the top 10. Florida State sits at No. 16 in the rankings, while Virginia Tech is ranked 18th. Louisville, Clemson and North Carolina received votes but didn’t crack into the rankings.

This is the first time all season UVa has been in the top 10 of the poll in consecutive weeks. The Cavaliers started the season at No. 4 in the preseason poll before falling outside the top 10 following a loss to San Francisco in the first week of the season.

UVa lost to Virginia Tech after climbing back into the top 10 in late January. The Wahoos’ winning streak keeps them in the top 10 for consecutive weeks. The team’s No. 7 ranking is its best mark since being named the No. 4 team this preseason.

Spring soccer schedules

The Virginia women’s soccer team announced its spring schedule last week, and the men’s soccer team shared its spring slate Monday.

The women will play five games and one exhibition against an NWSL opponent. All five matches are nonconference matchups. The Cavaliers open play on Feb. 28 at George Mason. They face VCU on March 6 and Old Dominion on March 14.

On March 27, UVa competes against the North Carolina Courage, an NWSL team. The exhibition against the professional foe won’t count, but it gives UVa’s players a chance to test themselves against elite competition while also giving the professional team an up-close look at some of the Cavaliers’ stars.

The UVa women’s soccer team finishes its spring schedule with two games against West Virginia. The Cavaliers play the Mountaineers on the road on April 3 before hosting them on April 10.

NCAA Tournament selections will be announced on April 18.

Unlike the women’s program, the men’s team’s spring schedule features ACC games. After an exhibition with Virginia Tech on Feb. 22, UVa hosts George Mason on March 2. The Cavaliers begin ACC action this spring against Notre Dame on March 7.

Games with UNC, Virginia Tech and Central Arkansas and Duke round out Virginia’s March schedule. The Tar Heels come to Charlottesville on March 13, before UVa hosts the Hokies on March 19, the Bears on March 23 and the Blue Devils on March 28.

Virginia plays at Louisville on April 2 before going to Pitt on April 8. The ACC Coastal and Atlantic division champions will meet on April 13. The winner of the April 13 game plays Clemson in the ACC Championship on April 17 for the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

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