#4 UVA women’s soccer advances to national championship game

uva soccerThe fourth-ranked UVA women’s soccer team advanced to its first NCAA Women’s College Cup final with a 3-1 semifinal victory over fifth-ranked Texas A&M Friday night at FAU Stadium. The Cavaliers (23-2) will play for their first national championship Sunday, while the Aggies (22-3-2) had their 14-game unbeaten streak snapped.

Virginia will play either second-ranked Florida State or third-ranked Stanford in Sunday’s final. Game time on the campus of Florida Atlantic University is 1 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

Junior Makenzy Doniak (Chino Hills, Calif.), junior Emily Sonnett (Marietta, Ga.) and sophomore Alexis Shaffer (Cary, N.C.) scored for the Cavaliers, who scored at least three goals for the 17th time in 25 games this season.

“We are obviously very pleased with the result,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “Texas A&M was a tremendous opponent and we have a lot of respect for their team. We knew we were going to have to finish some good chances to beat them and we did that tonight. We are happy to be moving on to the national championship game.”

The Cavaliers jumped out to the early lead in the 13th minute on Doniak’s 20th goal of the season, as she tied the UVa single season goal record. Morgan Brian (St. Simons Island, Ga.) placed a ball perfectly into the run of Doniak in the box, who headed it home to give Virginia a 1-0 advantage. It is the third 20-goal season in school history, as Caroline Miller set the record in 2012 and Doniak has matched it each of the past two seasons. The goal was also the 50th career goal for Doniak, who joins Angela Hucles (59 career goals from 1996-99) as the only 50-goal scorers in Cavalier history.

The Aggies drew even in the 32nd minute on Kelley Minogue’s 18th goal of the season. After a free kick from near midfield was sent into the box, the clearance fell to Minogue at the top of the box, who placed it inside the far post to tie the game.

Virginia retook the lead late in the first half with a goal in the 44th minute. Danielle Colaprico’s (Freehold, N.J.) corner kick was headed across the face of goal by Tina Iordanou (Upper Brookville, N.Y.) to Sonnett, who headed in her fifth goal of the year. It was the Cavaliers’ 14th goal this season off a corner kick and their 17th goal this season by a defender.

The Cavalier defense kept the Aggies off the scoreboard over the final 45 minutes, highlighted by two key saves by Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas) midway through the half. In the 87th minute, Shaffer sealed the win as she collected a ball, dribbled into the box and made a move past a defender before slotting a shot inside the far post for her seventh goal of the season.

Overall, Virginia outshot Texas A&M 14-11 and had a 12-6 corner kick advantage. Stearns made five saves in goal for the Cavaliers, while Jordan Day made five saves at the other end for the Aggies.

The Cavaliers will be looking for the 21st NCAA Championship in the history of Virginia athletics when they play Sunday’s final.

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