Weekend previews: October 2-4

“The Skinny" on weekend matchups for women’s soccer, women’s tennis and field hockey

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Senior forward Brittany Ratcliffe scored twice last year against the Wolfpack. 

Paul Burke | Cavalier Daily

Women’s Soccer

What: Virginia (8-1-1, 2-1-0 ACC) vs. NC State (4-8-0, 0-3-0 ACC)

Where: Raleigh, North Carolina (Dail Soccer Field)

When: Friday, 7:00 p.m.

The Skinny: The Virginia women’s soccer team will kick off a four-game road stand Friday at North Carolina State. Last Sunday against No. 22 Duke, the Cavaliers concluded a stretch of five straight home matches in which they went 4-1. No. 3 Virginia has not played outside the friendly confines of Klöckner since a Sept. 6 overtime thriller at then-No. 19 Pepperdine.

Virginia holds a series record of 24-12-1 against NC State and has claimed victory in 19 of the last 20 matches. A year ago, the Cavaliers clocked the Wolfpack 6-0 in Charlottesville behind the play of two junior forwards: Brittany Ratcliffe, who scored twice, and Kaili Torres, who tallied three assists. In 2015, this now-senior duo provides leadership and quality minutes on the flanks of the nation’s second-ranked scoring attack.

Virginia averages 3.30 goals per game, which trails only its neighbor to the north Howard. The Wolfpack have had a lot more trouble finding the back of the net, producing an average of .83 goals per contest. That mark just does not get the job done in the ACC, arguably the toughest conference in America, which flaunts five of the top-ten programs in the NSCAA Coaches poll.

The Cavaliers will take on No. 7 Clemson in a week’s time, but their focus remains on Friday’s matchup.

--Compiled by Grant Gossage

Women’s tennis

What: Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships

Where: Los Angeles, California

When: Saturday, all day, through October 11

The Skinny: Virginia’s women’s tennis team looks to continue its hot start to the fall season at the Riviera All-American Championships. The Cavaliers had strong performances a week ago, when seniors Danielle Collins and Julia Elbaba won their respective brackets at the U.Va. Fall Invite.

Collins and Elbaba are Virginia’s two representatives in the main draw at Riviera. They will be joined in California by fellow seniors Stephanie Nauta, Maci Epstein and Skylar Morton. Nauta will serve as an alternate in the main draw, and will compete in the qualifying singles pool. Epstein and Morton will play in the pre-qualifying singles pool.

Elbaba and Morton are Virginia’s representatives in the main draw of the doubles competition, while the duo of Collins and Nauta will play in the qualifying pool.

--Compiled by Ryan Taylor

Field Hockey

What: No. 4 Virginia (8-1, 2-1 ACC) vs. No. 3 North Carolina (9-1, 2-1 ACC)

Where: U-Hall Turf Field, Charlottesville, Virginia

When: Friday, 4 p.m.

The Skinny: After suffering its first loss of the season last week to now-No. 2 Syracuse by a score of 3-1, Virginia is looking to rebound and pick up its first ACC win against North Carolina — another tough challenger whose only loss is also to Syracuse. As a matchup of two Top 5 teams, both of whom are looking to remain atop the ACC, this will be a heavily-contested battle from start to finish.

Just as the ninth-ranked Virginia offense had a difficult time scoring against Syracuse, it will have its hands full putting points on the board against a phenomenal North Carolina Tar Heel defense, which has only allowed an average of 1.2 goals per game this season.

On the other side, the Cavaliers must keep up the defensive pressure. Led by senior midfielder Emily Wold’s nine goals, the Tar Heel offense has scored an average of 3.9 goals per game this year. Last week alone, it put up eight goals against the Appalachian State Mountaineers.

For either team, a win in this game would be the biggest victory of the season thus far. If Virginia wants to avoid a two-game losing streak and remain undefeated at home, it needs to bring it all against a very talented North Carolina squad.

—compiled by Ben Tobin

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