All-division preview: Virginia gets greeted back with tough schedule
For the first time since losing in the ITA National Indoor Team Championship semifinals, No. 10 Virginia returns back to the court for three matches in two days.
In its first match in 13 days, the Cavaliers will find No. 8 Baylor waiting for them. The next day, No. 6 Notre Dame heads to Virginia for a midday match before the Cavaliers close out the weekend with a match against Liberty on Sunday.
This will be Virginia's first matches since losing its school-record 36-match winning streak to Ohio State on Feb. 16. Though the loss may have been the first in a while for Virginia, head coach Brian Boland wasn't looking it as a negative, necessarily.
"This is exactly what we need this early in the season," Boland said after the loss to Ohio State. "It is the kind of situations we want to be in as we prepare for the rest of the season."
Both of Virginia's top-10 opponents this weekend played in the ITA nationals though Virginia only played Notre Dame. The Cavaliers prevailed 4-2 in the first round, sending the Irish to their only loss in three matches there. Baylor was the opposite of Notre Dame, winning its first game before dropping the last two.
Also returning to the court is Illinois, who plays its first match against Northwestern in 13 days. ... Texas faces its first Big 12 opponent this season on Saturday when it heads to TCU. ... Oklahoma will play its first match with its highest ranking in program history (No. 3) when it faces Louisville on Sunday.
The first in-season ITA Division II rankings left the top 10 mostly in tact. The only newcommer was Fresno Pacific, which takes on BYU Hawaii on Saturday. ... Armstrong Atlantic has a doubleheader on Saturday, facing both Young Harris and North Georgia. ... Saturday's marquee matchup appears to be Columbus State facing Valdosta State with both team ranked in the nation's top 15. ... Barry gets its weekend done early, taking on Florida Southern on Friday.
The weekend after the Division III ITA National Team Indoor Championships has left the schedule a bit bare for games involving the nation's top squards. Only Saturday features two matches -- No. 5 Kenyon against Sewanee and No. 7 Cal Lutheran against Arizona Christian. ... Trinity (Texas) takes on St. Edward's in Friday's only match while Claremont-M-S takes on DI Villanova on Sunday.