Women’s soccer closes regular season Thursday

Cavaliers look to avoid let down against Louisville


Senior goalkeeper Morgan Stearns and Virginia play at Louisville Thursday night.

Wyatt Eck | Cavalier Daily

The ACC regular season will finally come to a close for Virginia Thursday night. The team, having gone through all the ups and downs that are requisite for a long season, has emerged a battle-tested and cohesive team.

One last test for the ACC regular season remains, as the No. 7 Cavaliers (12-3-2, 5-2-2) are set to travel down to Louisville, Ky. to take on the Cardinals.

Just looking at the teams’ respective records reveals that Virginia will come into this game as a favorite, but as has been seen in the past, there is no such thing as an easy match in the ACC, especially with teams in desperation mode.

“I think [Louisville is] another desperate team that is fighting for their life,” senior defender Kristen McNabb said. “We are going to get a really aggressive team, so we need to come out and play our game and not make it so hectic.”

Virginia has gelled well and improved as the season has progressed, and the team hopes to carry its momentum and even increase the team’s cohesion going forward.

In soccer, player chemistry is paramount for the team’s success, and it’s certainly important for Virginia, especially with the freshmen on the team that are still getting settled in.

Freshman stars Zoe Morse and Taylor Ziemer are receiving significant playing time in coach Steve Swanson’s team, and seem to be gaining confidence as the season moves forward.

Louisville will come into this game knowing it has the ability to compete with anyone, having just come off a very close 1-0 loss against No. 8 Florida State, in which the Seminoles scored the winner with just nine minutes left to play.

In order to be successful, the Cavaliers will have to neutralize Louisville (7-6-4, 2-4-3) star freshman forward Brooklynn Rivers, who leads the Cardinals with 11 points on the season.

Virginia almost fell victim to an upset last weekend against Boston College, whom the Cavaliers narrowly defeated, 3-2. The team wants to make sure nothing these teams are doing will catch them by surprise.

“Louisville is going to be another good team like this, and they’re going to fight and give us a heck of a game,” senior goalkeeper Morgan Stearns said. “We need to perform better than we did [against Boston College]. … We were too flat and weren’t connecting passes.”

It will be a good final litmus test for Virginia, one they must pass in order to move into the regular season with confidence.

“We’re down to the last few games and teams are battling for their ACC and NCAA Tournament lives,” Swanson said. “We have to rise to that.”

The match is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m. Thursday night at Lynn Stadium.

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