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Cavaliers Secure Win with Two First-Half Goals; Advances to Fifth ACC Final
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Led by one of the top offensive attacks in the country, the Virginia women’s soccer team advanced to the ACC Women’s Soccer Championship, as it knocked off second-seeded North Carolina, 2-0, at UNCG Soccer Stadium on Friday evening.
With the victory, the Cavaliers will take on Florida State on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the ACC Women’s Soccer Championship. The finals appearance will be the fifth in UVa program history, with its most recent ACC title coming in 2012.
The Cavaliers, which entered the match scoring an ACC-best 3.50 goals per game, wasted little time in pushing the pace offensively in the first half, as they had two prime scoring chances in the first 10 minutes of the contest.
UVa midfielder Emily Sonnett registered the first chance less than five minutes into the match, as she found herself alone in the box. Sonnett nearly slid a shot past UNC goalkeeper Bryane Heaberline, who moved to her left to make a diving save.
Less than five minutes later, Makenzy Doniak notched her 14th goal of the year. Doniak was the recipient of an Alexis Shaffer pass, which she pushed past Heaberline to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead. Also picking up an assist on the goal was Kristen McNabb.
UVa added to its lead at the 28:35 mark of the half, as Morgan Reuther connected for her fifth goal of the season after collecting a pass from Danielle Colaprico at the top of the box.
With the second marker on the board for the Cavaliers, the Tar Heels found themselves in a unique position, as it was just the 23rd time in 863 games in UNC’s history that UNC has trailed by more than one goal.
The two-goal loss was only the third loss by multiple goals in 716 matches dating back to 1985. Of the three loses, Virginia now owns two of the multiple goal victories over the Tar Heels.
Virginia finished the game with a 10-5 margin in shots, with eight coming in the first half. A total of 22 players saw action in the contest for North Carolina.
With a 12-3-2 record and a No. 5 RPI, the Tar Heels turn their attention to the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship. Pairings for the tournament will be announced this Monday at 4:30 p.m.
Virginia Head Coach Steve Swanson
“We’ve very happy with the win, obviously. North Carolina does some things, pressure-wise, that cause you problems and at times are hard to deal with. I thought our players did a good job, especially in the first half, of solving their pressure and creating some good chances. The second half was harder work, but I thought we managed the game pretty well and didn’t allow them many chances. But it was certainly a good result and a good start for us in the tournament.”
On having not lost to North Carolina since 2011:
“Well, my overall record (against UNC) is still not very good. I still have that in the back of my mind.”
On junior forward Makenzy Doniak:
“The first goal she scored tonight was very important for us. I can’t say enough about Mak. She is one of the best goal-scorers we have ever had. We had Caroline Miller a few years back who could score against almost any team, regardless of who it was, and Mak is the same kind of player. She is such a competitor, and in a game like this, that first goal she scored was such a big one.”
North Carolina Head Coach Anson Dorrance:
”I want to congratulate Virginia. They played a great game. They certainly deserved to win and advance. But I was proud of the way our kids tried to make a game of it in the second half. In the first half, even though we were down two, we could have been down more. I thought Bry (goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin) made a couple of great saves to keep it at two. In the second half, I thought we gathered ourselves and started to compete a little bit better. I was proud of that – not that we created a lot of chances – but we played a bit more at their end. So I left the game with a certain satisfaction.”
On upcoming NCAA Tournament:
“Even though we’ve been knocked out (of the ACC Championship) by a very good Virginia team, we think we will have an opportunity to we compete will in the NCAA Tournament – we’re hoping as a No. 2 seed, and there are some who think we may even still be in the running for a No. 1 seed with the schedule we have played. Our schedule is, I believe, ranked the second toughest (nationally). And we’re hoping that this game will show us some things that we can work on a bit, so that we can continue to improve.”