Shoot to Thrill
The highlight reel of UVA sports photographer Matt Riley
In full uniform, former Virginia soccer star Morgan Brian (Educ ’16) jumped into a swimming pool. While she was in the air, somebody tossed a ball; another person sprayed a hose. A third person threw a bucket of water.
Matt Riley was wading in the pool with his camera. After 20 or so attempts, Riley got the shot he was looking for to promote “the next wave” of UVA athletes.
“It’s probably my favorite photo that I’ve ever taken,” Riley says.
That’s saying a lot; Riley has more than a decade under his belt as a UVA sports photographer.
Virginia Magazine asked Riley to choose some of his favorite shots from his career here. Many were taken during monumental moments, such as ACC and NCAA championships. Riley says the Virginia basketball team’s win over Duke in the 2014 ACC Tournament finals at the Greensboro Coliseum—the Cavaliers’ first championship since 1976—ranks near the top of his list. His photos included Coach Tony Bennett triumphantly standing on a ladder cutting down the net and star Joe Harris getting put in a playful headlock by teammates after being named MVP.
“It brought tears to my eyes while I was on the sideline,” Riley says. “It had been so long.”