Cavalier Corner

June 2019

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24 CAVALIER CORNER BY MIKE SCANDURA T HIRD-YEAR VIRGINIA mid- fielder Sammy Mueller wasn't born with a lacrosse stick in her cradle. In fact, it wasn't until sixth grade that she could tell a lacrosse stick from a tennis racquet. "I didn't get my first stick until sixth grade and didn't start playing until seventh grade," Mueller said. "I don't think I played club [in Pelham, N.Y.] until eighth or ninth grade. Two of the biggest influences were my uncle [Adam Mueller] and my dad [Tim Mueller], each of who played lacrosse at Michigan State. "They taught me everything I had to know from a young player's standpoint." Mueller's father and uncle taught her so well that over her first three years at UVA she's earned a host of honors: • She was voted the ACC Freshman of the Year (the eighth Cavalier to earn that acco- lade), led Virginia with five game-winning goals and qualified for the All-ACC Academic Team during her rookie campaign. • She scored a career-high six goals against Navy in 2018 and matched that number this season in victories against No. 9 Princeton in the regular season and No. 14 Navy in the NCAA Tournament. • This season, she was voted a first-team All-American, plus a first-team All-ACC se- lection for a second straight year. • Most impressively she was a nominee for the Tewaaraton Award (which is presented to the nation's top player) for a second straight year. Mueller finished the 2019 season with a team-high 72 points, 57 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers, plus was second in goals (48), assists (24) and draw controls (80). "She did come to lacrosse a little later than most, but she played so many other sports that she developed a high sports IQ," UVA head coach Julie Myers said. "I can't believe she wasn't born an athlete. She makes it fun to practice and for our team to compete at a high level." Myers, a UVA alumnus ('90), knew when she was recruiting Mueller that she would be a perfect fit for her program. "In the classroom, she's talented and gets great grades," the coach said. "Academically, it was a great fit and athletically there wasn't a weakness in her game. "I couldn't imagine taking the field without Sammy. She does it so consistently that it looks like it's so natural for her. She's fierce but always in control, which is a great com- bination." Mueller certainly looked like she was a natural at the Hackley School, where she was a 2015 U.S. Lacrosse High School All-Amer- ican, and holds school records for most goals Mueller tied a career high with eight points in the NCAA Tournament opener to lead the Cavs to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2014. PHOTO BY MATT RILEY/COURTESY UVA

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