April 8, 2013
Many of the Cavaliers are born with sports in their blood. Lelan Bailey, whose father, Randall, ran cross country at Pitt and her mother, Michelle, who was a field hockey player, not only has sports in her blood, she has it in her name.
"My whole family are huge fans of the Steelers and Pittsburgh sports teams," Bailey explains. "I was named after Jim Leyland, the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, when I was born."
While her two younger brothers, Cole and Maxwell, don't have sports monikers, they do also have sports in their blood, specifically lacrosse. Cole is a sophomore playing at Tufts, while Maxwell is a sophomore high school player in Millersville, Md.
"I am really close with my brothers and miss them a lot," Bailey said.
Despite playing lacrosse since the age of eight, Bailey was not sure that she would be playing it in college. As a three-time state champion in field hockey, she at one point thought that would be her sport of choice. However, after switching to defense in lacrosse and winning three state titles in that sport as well, she changed her emphasis.
"I love causing turnovers, getting interceptions, knocking a pass down and stopping the other team from scoring," Bailey gushed. "But what I think I love most about defense is that it is a team thing. When you make a stop, it is because everyone did it together. It is very team oriented."
Bailey is in her second season with the `Hoos after beginning her career as one of 24 freshmen in the inaugural season for Florida lacrosse.
"It was exciting, but we really had to figure everything out and help each other," Bailey recalled of her freshman season. "We had trouble with simple stuff like turning in your loop or attending study hall. There were 24 freshmen that all had mandatory study hall. We were definitely loud and stood out."
Bailey's playing career at Florida didn't go quite as she had planned. She suffered a foot injury one week before reporting to Gainesville and had to miss all of fall training before her freshman season.
"I missed that first fall when everyone was developing, so I didn't have the confidence that I had in high school and the confidence that I have now," Bailey said of her time as a Gator. "When I came to UVa, the coaches definitely helped me build my confidence. I think that was the biggest transformation."
Bailey spent two years at Florida before she came to the realization that despite her love for her team and her teammates, Florida just wasn't the school for her. She made the decision to transfer to Virginia with the goal of working hard and trying to win a spot on the team. After accomplishing that goal, she continued to work hard, trying to earn more playing time. She accomplished that, and even more.
"When the coaches announced I would be starting the Loyola game last year, I was just so happy," Bailey said. "It was the first game I had started in my college career. I was so happy because I had worked really hard and I felt like it had paid off."
Bailey's hard work also translated into something she never thought would be a possibility. At the 2012 Athletics Banquet, she was announced as the recipient of the Ralph Sampson Scholarship, a prestigious honor and scholarship awarded annually to a Virginia third-year student-athlete who demonstrates excellence in academics, leadership and athletics.
"When they announced it at the athletics banquet, I was in shock," Bailey said. "I was totally taken aback and truly honored. When I transferred, my goals for me were get playing time and be a good team member. The fact that I won a scholarship surprised me and made me happy."
In addition to being a strong defensive presence on the field, Bailey is a motivating force in the locker room. Before most games, she writes a poem that is meant to equally entertain and inspire her teammates.
"I talk about what we are going to do in the game and the game plan," Bailey said. I try to make it kind of funny, but it also kind of pumps everyone up. I always try to rhyme UVa or Cavalier."
With just a few weeks left in her playing career, Bailey is already looking toward the future. The Spanish major plans on applying as a post-bac student to finish up the prerequisites for medical school. She would love to combine the two by volunteering as a doctor in South America.
"Helping people is something that I have always wanted to do," Bailey said.
And it is something she does every single day on this team, and away from the field.
Sky's the Limit for UVA Pole VaulterTrack & Field, Cross Country7/20/17Jeff Jernigan, who over the course of his UVA career became one of the ACC's top pole vaulters, was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in May.Graduate Transfers Bolster Offensive LineFootball7/18/17Graduate transfers John Montelus and Brandon Pertile will compete for starting jobs on the offensive line when UVA opens training camp late this month.'Hoos Hope to Build Momentum EarlyFootball7/15/17Four of Virginia's first five football games this season will be at Scott Stadium.
Director of News Content
A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
Four Players Named to ACC All-Academic Team
W. Lacrosse | 6/27/2017
Virginia had four players named to the 2017 ACC Women’s Lacrosse All-Academic Team.
Maggie Jackson Named VaSID Player of the Year
W. Lacrosse | 6/19/2017
Sophomore Maggie Jackson was named the Virginia Sports Information Director’s Women’s...
Jeff White: Catching Up With Cherie Greer Brown
W. Lacrosse | 6/19/2017
A 1994 graduate of UVA, where she was a three-time All-American, the former Cherie Greer ranks...
Robyn Nye Inducted into US Lacrosse National Hall of Fame
W. Lacrosse | 5/23/2017
Former Virginia women’s lacrosse All-American Robyn Nye Wood selected to US Lacrosse...
Jackson and Behr Earn IWLCA All-America Honors
W. Lacrosse | 5/17/2017
Sophomore Maggie Jackson and junior Kasey Behr were named to the 2017 IWLCA All-American Teams.
Virginia Ends Season with Loss to UNC in NCAA Second Round
W. Lacrosse | 5/14/2017
The No. 13 Virginia women’s lacrosse team fell 23-12 to No. 2 North Carolina to close its...
Virginia Takes on No. 2 Seed North Carolina in NCAA Second...
W. Lacrosse | 05/13/2017
The Virginia women’s lacrosse team continues play in the 2017 NCAA Championship against No....
Virginia Advances to NCAA Second Round on Sunday
W. Lacrosse | 05/12/2017
The Virginia women’s lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA second round with an 11-9 victory...
- Online Stores