The BR-5 Virginia Cavliers Women’s soccer team is off to a strong start in 2014. The Cavaliers are (11-1-0) in a loaded Atlantic Coast Conference that features five teams inside the Bennett rank top ten.
Led by Head Coach Steve Swanson, who is in his 14th season at Virginia, the Cavaliers are looking to repeat a 2013 season in which the team won a school record 24 games and went a perfect 19-0 during the regular season. In 2012, the team won it’s second ACC title. For the team’s recent success, Swanson was named ACC Coach of the Year for the 1st time in 2013 and won his 300th game as a head coach on Sept. 19th.
This season, Virginia is looking for more.
While the Cavaliers perfect season fell by the wayside with a 1-0 loss to BR-3 Florida State, the team bounced back with a strong victory over BR-10 Notre Dame 2-1 in South Bend. The Cavaliers potentially could finish the regular season 17-1, as Virginia only faces a single team inside the top ten for the rest of the season in rival BR-9 Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg.
So far this season, the Cavaliers are led by a pair of Juniors in Makenzy Doniak and Brittany Ratcliffe with six goals a piece. Both women are also first and second on the team in total points and have attempted the most shots on goal for the Cavaliers. Setting up some of those goals has been Senior Danielle Colaprico, who’s seven assists is first on the team putting her in a tie for third on the Cavaliers in total points. Colaprico certainly has plenty of talent around to feed the ball too. A total of 13 Cavaliers have scored at least one goal, and eleven have found the net twice or more.
That type of balance has resulted in a 274-59 shot advantage for the Cavaliers and a season total of 38 goals. Thanking the Cavaliers offense is goalkeeper Morgan Stearns. The sophomore from Texas has won ten of the Cavaliers 11 games and has recorded 13 saves. Stearns has allowed just five goals and holds a current save percentage of .722, partly due to the dominance the Cavaliers have been commanding possession. Virginia has shot almost 23(22.8) shots on goal. Along with sophomore goalkeeper Jessie Ferrari, opponents have attempted just under five(4.9) shots on the Virginia net.
Despite all the pieces, the heart and soul of the team might be Senior Midfielder Morgan Brian. Brian, a 2013 MAC Hermann Winner as the nation’s top female player, has a balanced line of four goals and five assists for 13 total points. She may not reach her 16 goals and 14 assist output last season that gave her a 1st place tie in the ACC in points, but the team will rely upon Brian for her senior leadership and play to determine how far the Cavaliers will go.
For Brian and the rest of the Cavaliers, the ACC race is wide open. With the amount of weapons and arguably the best player in women’s soccer controlling the pace, the Cavaliers have plenty of ways to win and take control heading into the rest of the year. If that happens, a second title in three years could be awaiting in Charlottesville.
More Women’s Soccer