Virginia Women’s Cross Country Starts Postseason Action With Huge Third Place Finish

Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia placed three runners on the All-ACC squad en route to a third place finish at the ACC Championships. ~ Photo By Kris Wright/

The Virginia fall sports season has entered the home stretch with the calendar now reading November and the women’s sports teams for UVA have put together a solid year so far. Women’s soccer and field hockey both have winning records and high rankings. Volleyball already surpassed last season’s win total with four weeks remaining in the regular season. The women’s cross country team claimed third place at the ACC Championships to start off the postseason.

Let’s take a closer look in this Virginia women’s sports report.

Virginia Cross Country

The No. 25 cross country team finished third on Friday at the ACC Championships, which took place on Virginia’s home course at Panorama Farms. The women finished with 98 points behind No. 1 NC State (34) and No. 6 Notre Dame (38). They placed ahead of No. 8 UNC (4th, 109) and No. 15 Syracuse (6th, 191).

This was the best finish since 2015 when the women won the ACC title. Last year, the Hoos finished 10th. They had three runners earn all-ACC honors: sophomore Margot Appleton came home 9th in 19:57.9, junior Camryn Menninger finished 12th in 19:59.7, and sophomore Mia Barnett took 17th in 20:13.0. Sophomore Sophie Atkinson (22nd, 20:18.9) and junior Esther Seeland (39th, 20:33.4) rounded out the scoring.

Virginia Tech finished in 8th place, thus securing the Commonwealth Clash point for the Hoos (the men also finished ahead of the Hokies to claim another point). The Hoos will line up again in two weeks at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship on Friday, Nov. 11 in Louisville, Ky., where they will compete for a spot at the NCAA Championships. They will race all Division I programs from Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The top two teams will earn automatic spots at the NCAA Championship a week later (teams can also earn an at-large bid) in Oklahoma.

UVA Soccer

The No. 8 Virginia women’s soccer team defeated Miami 1-0 in the final game of the regular season on Thursday. Graduate student Alexa Spaanstra was the hero of the night with an unassisted goal in the 12th minute. Senior Cayla White finished her strong regular season play by keeping the opposing team scoreless for the eighth time this season.

The Hoos returned to action on Sunday for the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament where they fell 2-1 to No. 11 Duke. The Blue Devils’ offense made quick work scoring a goal in the third minute off the foot of Michelle Cooper. Spaanstra responded in the 36th minute off an assist from senior Talia Staude and junior Lia Godfrey. The game remained tied for 20 minutes until Duke’s Kat Rader scored off an assist from Cooper.

The Wahoos will now shift focus to the NCAA Tournament with hopes of a longer postseason stay. They must wait until Monday, Nov. 7 when the NCAA will announce the championship bracket to see their spot in the field.

Cavalier Field Hockey

The No. 5 Virginia field hockey team fell 2-0 against No. 2 Maryland on Wednesday in College Park to end the regular season. Maryland scored the first goal with 1:13 remaining in the first quarter and followed up with a second goal early in the second quarter. The Hoos outshot the Terrapins 11-7, but they were unable to knock one into the goal.

Freshman Jet Trimborn made 4 saves for UVA. She was one of four Hoos to earn All-ACC honors at the end of the regular season. Grad student Annie McDonough and freshman midfielder Daniela Mendez-Trendler each landed a spot on the first team, while senior midfielder Adele Iacobucci and Trimborn received recognition on the second team.

The Hoos earned the No. 3 seed in the ACC Tournament this week. They will face No. 9 Louisville, the No. 6 seed in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. UVA defeated the Cardinals 2-0 when the teams met in Charlottesville on Sept. 30.

Virginia Volleyball

Down go the Hokies! Virginia defeated Virginia Tech on Friday in a dramatic five-set match. The Hokies took the first set 25-21, but the Hoos bounced back to take the next two sets 25-23 and 25-22. The Wahoos found themselves down 24-20 at the first match point of the fourth set, but rallied to gain a 27-26 lead. The Hokies fought back and closed the set out with three straight points to force a fifth set. UVA took the lead at 8-7 in the final set before the Hokies tied it up at 13-13. Freshman Kate Johnson served two aces while graduate student Grace Turner registered a necessary kill for Virginia win the final set with a score of 16-14.

This was the first win against Virginia Tech since 2019 and earned 0.5 points in the Commonwealth Clash (the teams play again Nov. 11).

The Hoos quickly hit the road to play at Wake Forest on Sunday where they lost in straight sets (16-25, 20-25, 23-25). UVA made nine service errors in the loss. Virginia returns to action on Friday at Boston College. With two more victories this season, the team can tie for the program’s most wins (13) since having 18 in 2015.