Lilly Blair. Courtesy of Roanoke College.

Virginia teams didn’t fare well in computer rankings

If it seems that 2021-2022 was not a great year for men’s basketball in Virginia, consider the final rankings calculated by computer analyst Jeff Sagarin for USA Today.

Virginia Tech, which won the ACC championship but lost to Texas 81-73 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, was ranked No. 25 on Sagarin’s list.

There was not another Virginia team in Sagarin’s top 50, with Virginia Commonwealth closest to the Hokies at No. 59. Virginia was 61st and Richmond was 75th.

Fifth on Sagarin’s list among the Commonwealth teams was Longwood at No. 167. After winning the Big South championship, Longwood was an 88-56 loser in a first-round NCAA Tournament game with Tennessee.

VMI and Old Dominion, at No. 180 and 181, at least finished in the top 200. James Madison had the distinction of knocking off visiting UVa in the season opener, but finished 214th in the Sagarin rankings, 11 spots behind Norfolk State. Hampton and William and Mary were in the 300s.

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The portal

After taking a commitment from Nijel Pack, a first-team All-Big 12 transfer from Kansas State, Miami coach Jim Larranaga picked up Nicaragua-bred Norchad Omier, a 6-7 transfer from Arkansas State, where he was the Sun Belt Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year averaging 17.9 points and 12.2 rebounds.

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Roanoke College’s Blair named ODAC offensive player of the year

Lilly Blair, a junior attackman on the Roanoke College women’s lacrosse team, finished the season with 90 points (71 goals, 19 assists) and was named Old Dominion Athletic Conference offensive player of the year, as well as ODAC scholar-athlete of the year.

Blair is a 4.0 student with a triple major including mathematics, economics and actuarial science.

Roanoke’s women were 8-0 in the ODAC and 18-2 overall. The Maroons lost to fourth-seeded
Gettysburg in the second second round of the Division III NCAA Tournament.

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Lydia Taylor. Courtesy of Emory & Henry College.

Emory & Henry’s Taylor named finalist for the NFCA Division II National Freshman of the Year

Emory & Henry College freshman shortstop Lydia Taylor has been selected as one of eight finalists for the NFCA Division II National Freshman of the Year, NFCA officials announced Wednesday. The NFCA is the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

The award honors the outstanding athletic achievement among freshman softball student-athletes throughout NCAA Division II.

Taylor, who is from Salem, was named a NFCA Division II All-Southeast Region Second-Teamer last week.  Additionally, Taylor earned All-Southeast Region Second-Team accolades from the Division II Conference Commissioners Association.

Taylor started all 42 games in which she played, batting a team-leading .417 while also leading the squad with 53 hits and 13 doubles. Her 15 home runs, 113 total bases, 54 RBI and .890 slugging percentage not only led the Wasps but also set new Emory & Henry single-season records.

She hit safely in 37 games, starting the year with a 12-game streak and added a 13-game span between March 19 and April 7. Taylor posted 15 multi-hit contests and drove in multiple runs on 15 different occasions over the course of the season.

The NFCA Division II National Freshman of the Year will be announced on May 26

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Streaks

An ACC women’s rowing championship was the Cavaliers’ 12th in a row, all with Kevin Sauer as head coach. It was UVa’s 21st title in 22 chances.

An earlier championship for the Cavaliers had occurred in women’s swimming and diving, where the women won their second straight NCAA title under coach Todd DeSorbo.

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Prediction

Jeff Borzello of ESPN has a preseason men’s basketball poll that includes NCAA champion North Carolina at No. 1, Houston at No.2, Kentucky at No. 3, UCLA at No.4 and Creighton at No. 5. Other ACC teams in his top 25 are Duke at No. 7, Virginia at No. 21, and Miami at No. 22.

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Doug Doughty

Doug Doughty has been writing for more than 50 years starting as a high school student in Washington, D.C., through his undergraduate years at the University of Virginia, and 47 years at the Roanoke Times...