Record-breaking start for UVA softball: ‘Faith needs a little bit of proof sometimes’

Abby Weaver (center) is mobbed by her teammates after hitting the game-winning home run against...
Abby Weaver (center) is mobbed by her teammates after hitting the game-winning home run against No. 24 Notre Dame.(wvir)
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 9:54 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia softball team has a big series this weekend, as the Cavaliers will host second-ranked Florida State at Palmer Park.

The Seminoles have dominated this match-up, as UVA only has one win against FSU over the last decade.

But this season, the ‘Hoos are proving they can play with anyone, and it all started in their ACC Opener.

“Faith needs a little bit of proof sometimes, before you can really start to believe,” says UVA head coach Joanna Hardin. “I really think that walk-off against Notre Dame started us down a different path.”

When Abby Weaver launched a three-run home run to beat 24th ranked Notre Dame back on March 11th, it gave the Cavaliers their first win at home against a ranked opponent since 2011.

They swept the doubleheader that day, and won a series against a ranked team for the first time since 2010.

“There was a belief,” says Hardin. “Something kind of clicked for us. We’ve know it’s there, we’ve know it’s there. We’ve been waiting, and that was a big moment.”

Senior pitcher Tori Gilbert says, “It definitely got us going. I feel like everybody was super confident after that weekend. Just ready to keep winning more series.”

The Cavaliers are 8-1 in conference play, which is the best start in program history, and they’ve swept back-to-back series in the ACC for the first time ever.

Freshman midfielder Sarah Coon says, “Everyone is kind of surprised, but none of us are surprised, and we just want to keep showing that.”

“This program has been on the climb for a long time,” says senior pitcher Aly Rayle, “and this year you can finally see it in the results we’re getting. It’s been really rewarding.”

UVA has played 34 games this season, but only seven of them have come at home.

The series against the Seminoles will give Cavalier fans a chance to pack Palmer Park.

Hardin says, “We love playing in front of our fans, so we hope it’s really loud. We hope it has a championship feel. We’ve been in some big stadiums, with big crowds, and it felt that way. We felt that pressure, and that’s really good. That’s what you need to win championships, so the more we can be in those games, and those atmospheres, I think it really benefits us.”

Virginia and Florida State will square off in Game One of the three-game series on Friday at 6pm.

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