Weekend Previews: Nov. 20-22

‘The Skinny’ on weekend action for Virginia’s women’s soccer, wrestling, cross country teams

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Junior Henry Wynne placed 12th at the NCAA Southeast Regional, best among the Virginia men. Now the Cavalier men and women head to Louisville looking for national titles. 

Marshall Bronfin | Cavalier Daily

Full previews for football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s soccer and volleyball can be found online and in Thursday’s Cavalier Daily.

Women’s soccer

What: Virginia (17-1-2, 9-1-0 ACC) vs. UNC Wilmington (15-6-1, 6-2-1 CAA)

Where: Klöckner Stadium

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

The Skinny: Virginia women’s soccer dominated UNC Wilmington 8-0 in its season opener Aug. 23, with three Cavalier juniors combining for five goals. Defender Meghan Cox tallied a hat trick on three shots, while midfielder Alexis Shaffer and forward Morgan Reuther netted one goal each.

Senior center back Emily Sonnett — who buried a penalty kick late in the match to close scoring — steered Virginia to its first of 11 shutouts during the regular season. The Seahawks produced only four shots, none of which threatened junior goalkeepers Jessie Ferrari and Morgan Stearns.

Few attending that day would have predicted the two teams would meet again in the second round of the 2015 College Cup. Most expected the Cavaliers to be there, given coach Steve Swanson’s track record and their top talent. But UNCW appeared resigned to a shorter season.

The Seahawks deserve credit for compiling a 15-4-1 record since the ugly 8-0 defeat in Charlottesville. They have improved defensively, allowing only three goals in a 3-2 loss at Northeastern. Their 10th clean sheet came on the road Friday night.

UNCW upset South Carolina 2-0 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Senior forward Katrina Guillou scored in the 12th minute and assisted junior defender Lauren Nalevaiko on her insurance goal in the 85th.

Guillou and senior forward Maddie McCormick — whose through ball set up Guillou’s goal — are the Seahawks’ main weapons on offense. Since Virginia held the two attackers shotless in August, they have found the back of the net a combined 24 times and assisted on nine other scores.

Having achieved its first NCAA tournament win in program history Friday, UNCW is playing with house money. But Swanson and his captains Sonnett and senior forward Makenzy Doniak and the No. 1-seeded Virginia team know how to take care of business.

Pre-game, Cavalier players will pen on their arms two familiar words — “All In.” Post-game, Virginia should move one step closer to its ultimate goal of winning a national championship and direct its focus to a third-round matchup against either No. 4 seed USC or Princeton.

—compiled by Grant Gossage

Wrestling

What: Mat Town Open

Where: Thomas Fieldhouse, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania

When: Sunday, 10 a.m.

The Skinny: Several wrestlers from the Virginia wrestling team will compete in the 10th annual Mat Town Open this Sunday up in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.

Open to both collegiate and non-collegiate wrestlers, the Mat Town Open is a sprawling double-elimination style tournament. While it does not keep team scores and instead only awards individual champions for each weight class, wrestlers from traditionally strong schools like Penn State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Cornell all participate.

Last year, Virginia sent six wrestlers to the tournament. This year, the team is increasing its participation with 16 wrestlers signed up.

The No. 20 Cavaliers are confident they will have a strong showing at the event. Coming off an impressive 21-16 victory last Sunday against then-No. 15 Old Dominion, Virginia’s wrestlers are ready to face any foe. Look for the Cavaliers to have multiple wrestlers place in the top four of their weight classes in what should be a great weekend of wrestling.

—compiled by Jack Gallagher

Cross country

What: NCAA Championships

Where: E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, Louisville, Kentucky

When: Saturday, 12 p.m.

The Skinny: The Virginia cross country teams will compete in the NCAA Championships Saturday afternoon at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. The Cavalier women and men earned their places in the field last Friday, when they placed first and second, respectively, at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships in Earlysville, Va.

Although no Virginia runners qualified for the individual championships — only the top-four finishers at each regional meet advance to nationals — both teams are in position to make some noise Saturday. The Cavalier men placed 21st at last year’s NCAA Championships and come into this year’s competition ranked No. 12. The No. 7 Virginia women also appear poised to improve on their 15th-place result from a season ago.

Reigning national champion Colorado and second-ranked Syracuse enter as the favorites on the men’s side, while top-ranked New Mexico and the No. 2 Buffaloes — both out of the Mountain Region — are among the heavyweights in the women’s field.

Competition begins at noon with the women’s race. The men’s race is scheduled for 1 p.m.

—compiled by Matthew Morris

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