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Women’s soccer: No. 1 Virginia opens NCAA Tournament play Friday

uva-logo-new2The top-ranked Virginia women’s soccer team begins its quest for a third consecutive trip to the College Cup on Friday (Nov. 13) when it hosts Howard in a 6:30 p.m. NCAA Tournament first-round matchup at Klöckner Stadium.

Tickets for the game are $9 for reserved seats, $7 for adult general admission and $5 for youth/UVA students/senior citizen general admission. Fans can order tickets for the tournament online at VirginiaSports.com and by phone through the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office at 800-542-UVA1 (8821) or 434-924-UVA1 (8821). Tickets are also available at the gate beginning one hour prior to the start of play.

Free public parking will be available in the Emmet/Ivy Garage. The Virginia men’s basketball team hosts Morgan State at 7 p.m. on Friday, so the John Paul Jones Arena and University Hall parking lots are reserved for men’s basketball permit holders.

Virginia (16-1-2) enters the contest after claiming the ACC regular-season championship with a 9-1-0 mark in conference play. The Cavaliers then advanced to the finals of the ACC Women’s Soccer Championships, playing Florida State to a draw before failing to claim the championship in a shootout.

The Cavaliers are one of the top scoring offenses in the nation, averaging 3.26 goals per game and have 14 different goal scorers this season. Senior forward Makenzy Doniak (Chino Hills, Calif.) was named ACC Offensive Player of the Year and has helped pace the Cavalier offense with 10 goals and 10 assists. She is one goal behind team-leader Alexis Shaffer (Cary, N.C.) in goals. Ten Virginia players have at least three goals on the season.

The defense of the Cavaliers has also been formidable this season, posting 12 shutout victories and holding opponents to 11 goals scored. Senior defender Emily Sonnett (Marietta, Ga.) was named ESPNW National Player of the Year earlier this week and was selected as ACC Defensive Player of the Year as she anchors the Virginia back line. Goalkeeper Morgan Stearns has posted a 10-1-2 record since moving back into the staring lineup.

Howard (13-7-2) is coming off a clean sweep through the SWAC Tournament and is one of three teams to average more than three goals per game, joining Virginia in that category. The Bison average 3.05 goals per game and are paced by Kela Gray’s 17 goals. She is one of three Howard players with more than 10 goals on the season. The Bison have scored 67 goals this season, while allowing 29 goals defensively.


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