The top ranked Virginia Cavaliers played their third straight game on Tobacco Road Sunday and for the third straight time they emerged victorious. Following wins at Wake Forest and North Carolina State, the Cavaliers stifled North Carolina 2-0 on Sunday on goals from Brittany Ratcliffe and Makenzy Doniak. The Cavaliers hope to be back in the area this season as the ACC Tournament semifinals, finals and NCAA College Cup will all be played in Cary, N.C.
If Virginia makes it to the College Cup in December, it will only be the second time in program history. Virginia made it’s lone College Cup appearance well over two decades ago in 1991.
The fact that Virginia has only made one College Cup appearance in its history may surprise a lot of women’s soccer fans given the players the school has produced over the years. The likes of Becky Sauerbrunn, Lori Lindsey, Sarah Huffman and Nikki Krzysik to name a few attended Virginia.
The Cavaliers look poised to make a run at their second college cup appearance this season. Sunday’s win over the most storied team in college history lifted the Cavaliers to 16-0 so this season.
Virginia entered the weekend leading the country in goals per game and ranked 22nd overall in goals against average. Despite stellar play on both sides of the ball, the Cavaliers’ unbeaten record hasn’t come without adversity.
In back to back conference games, Virginia found themselves in a 1-0 deficit on the road and had to battle back to equalize and find the game winner. More recently, the Cavaliers conceded a lead twice against Notre Dame and needed a 101st minute goal from Morgan Brian to maintain their perfect record.
These hard fought games have tested Virginia’s mental toughness and may well prove as valuable experience leading into the postseason.
Sunday was another tough test since the Tar Heels entered the match ranked No. 2 and winners of their previous six. If any team is going to derail Virginia’s run at a perfect regular season, last year’s champions and winners of 22 NCAA championships in total seem as likely candidate as any.
Although finishing the regular season perfect would be a stellar accomplishment, the end goal for the Cavaliers is obviously winning their first National Championship. Two years ago, women’s soccer powerhouse Stanford went undefeated and finally won their first title. Could Virginia be the next major program to add its name to the shortlist of teams who’ve won a National Championship? Only time will tell and for right now Virginia is focused on leaving Tobacco Road victorious tomorrow night.
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