Virginia Finishes 11th In Director’s Cup

Virginia
Virginia won the National Championship in men’s tennis. ~ Photo courtesy of Matt Riley/Virginia Athletics Media Relations

On Thursday, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics released the final standings for the 2022 Directors’ Cup. For the second straight year, Virginia finished 11th in the competition. The Cavaliers have reached a 15-year streak of top 25 finishes and remain one of 10 schools to rank in the top 30 of the competition in all 29 years of its existence.

“It’s been a remarkable year and it is humbling for me to be able to watch the resiliency, work ethic and grit of our coaches and student-athletes,” said Virginia director of athletics Carla Williams in a news release. “Our entire staff should take great pride in knowing we cannot accomplish anything without their commitment and dedicated work. Two more team titles this year bringing the total to 31 NCAA team championships all-time is absolutely phenomenal. We also celebrated eight individual national championships this year, and are so grateful for the opportunity to represent the University and our fans on the national stage.”

The Directors’ Cup awards predetermined amounts of points to schools based on their postseason performance in 19 different sports. A school’s postseason finishes in men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and volleyball are the only four sports that are required to be among the 19. The competition is meant to honor the schools that achieve the most collective success across the entirety of their athletics programs.

Virginia’s performance in the Director’s Cup this season was powered by the National Championships won by the men’s tennis team and the women’s swimming and diving team. Excluding 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UVA has now won two national titles in three straight years. Also, for the second year in a row, a Virginia team won its second title in as many years (again excluding 2020) as women’s swimming and diving won in 2021 and 2022 after men’s lacrosse did so in 2019 and 2021 (no 2020 postseason).

The title wins from women’s swimming and diving and men’s tennis brought the all-time total for UVA to 31 national championships. Four ACC Championships were earned by Virginia teams this season as well which means the Hoos have now won 90 ACC titles since the spring of 2002, more than all other ACC members in that period of time. (Check out The Sabre rankings for the UVA seasons.)

In recent years, UVA has often found itself toward the top of the Director’s Cup standings. This season alone the Cavaliers had 11 teams place in the top 15 of their respective sports. This included top five positions for men’s lacrosse and women’s tennis (NCAA Quarterfinals) in addition to the two championship winning teams. Rowing and men’s swimming and diving also added top 10 finishes.

The Cavaliers (942.50) finished third in this year’s Directors’ Cup standings among ACC programs with only North Carolina (1087.25) and Notre Dame (1021.00) ahead of them. Texas (1st), Stanford (2nd), Michigan (3rd), and Florida (5th) finished in their same respective positions as a year ago. Ohio State replaced UNC in the fourth spot from last year to this year.

The Hoos earned fewer points compared to their 2021 total (970.25) but was still able to hold its spot in 11th place. This was the third straight time Virginia ranked 11th or better in the final standings and the sixth time in the last eight years. No rankings were released for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UVA has seen a lot of its recent success come as a result of year over year consistency within particular sports. Women’s swimming and diving will return the core of its back-to-back National Championship team including Olympic medalists Alex Walsh, Kate Douglass, and Emma Weyant. Men’s tennis will retain much of its National Championship winning team too as five of the six players with 20 or more singles wins this season will be back next year.

Men’s lacrosse is an established powerhouse and an annual contender for national titles. All-American third baseman Jake Gelof will lead the Virginia baseball team next season in search of the program’s second national title. Men’s basketball will hope to take a big step forward with one of coach Tony Bennett’s best ever recruiting classes entering the fold after a disappointing campaign this year that ended in a quarterfinal loss in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). Women’s soccer forward Alexa Spaanstra will return for her fifth year at UVA hoping to earn All-ACC honors for the fifth time in as many years as the Hoos chase their first national title in that sport.

The outlook for the 2023 Directors’ Cup campaign, and the respective ones for each Virginia team, remain incredibly bright. Consistency and experience has shown to be a powerful force for UVA teams recently and some of this past year’s best performing teams will look rather similar this coming year.