Virginia looks to come out strong as ACC play begins against Virginia Tech

Cavaliers look to rebound from loss to No. 20 Georgetown

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No. 5 Virginia women’s soccer team returns home to begin ACC play and host No. 17 Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. in yet another Commonwealth Clash. Klöckner Stadium will likely be packed for this massive game with implications that could set the tone for the entire ACC.

After losing a match to No. 20 Georgetown away from home last weekend, the Cavaliers (7-1-0, 0-0 ACC) are thrilled to return home where they are comfortable and where they know their fans will be backing them aggressively.

“We’re excited [about playing at home] — it’s going to be a fun atmosphere,” senior defender Kristen McNabb said. “I think starting ACC play, especially against Tech, we’re going to be especially hyped up, so we’re really excited.”

The Cavaliers looked dominant earlier in the season until their shocking loss to Georgetown by a score of 3-2. Make no mistake — Georgetown is a very strong team, but these Cavaliers looked nearly unbeatable in the prior seven matches, and they were quite disappointed with the result.

“We definitely need to play better than we did last game,” McNabb said. “We need to dictate the play and just keep it moving… It’s always pretty hype because Tech is our neighbor, and it’s the Commonwealth Clash, so we really want to get the win.”

A win would be a huge boost to the Cavaliers’ confidence, especially as ACC play starts to ramp up and the games get more and more meaningful throughout the season. This game has the opportunity to be a tone-setter for the rest of the season.

The most difficult challenge against Virginia Tech (8-1-0, 0-0 ACC) will be to break down the Hokies’ defense. Their defense has been extremely strong all year, allowing only five goals and posting five shutouts on the season. Of course, the Cavaliers one-up them by this metric, with the Cavaliers only allowing three goals — all against Georgetown — and posting seven shutouts on the year.

The team is vigorously preparing for this match and is taking it very seriously. They know how important this game will be in setting the path for the rest of their season.

“We just did our scouting report — we known they’re aggressive,” McNabb said. “And they have pace up top, and they’re a strong squad that plays hard.”

The Commonwealth Clash always adds an extra layer of intensity to the game. Virginia has taken it the past couple of years, winning the 2015-16 title 14-7. The team hopes to do their part in extending Virginia’s dominance over Virginia Tech Friday at 7 p.m., when the real meat of the season begins. It’s one that promises to be filled with thrills and achievements.

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