Recapping the fall sports cycle

A review of men’s soccer, women’s soccer and volleyball seasons

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Freshman forward Cabrel Happi Kamseu tied for the team lead with five goals on the season.

Andrew Walsh | Cavalier Daily

Men’s soccer

The Virginia men’s soccer team (10-4-3, 3-2-2 ACC) was eliminated by Notre Dame (11-7-3, 4-3-1 ACC) 1-0 in overtime in the third round of the NCAA Tournament Nov. 25. The Cavaliers finished their season with a 10-4-3 record, going 3-2-2 in regular-season ACC play.

Virginia had earned the 10th-overall seed and a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament, then defeated Furman 2-0 in the second round behind two late goals from sophomore winger Nathaniel Crofts. Crofts finished the season third on the team with four goals and led the team in assists with six.

Freshman forwards Daryl Dike and Cabrel Happi Kamseu were tied for the team lead with five goals apiece, but Dike scored his final goal of the season on Oct. 16 and Happi Kamseu scored his on Oct. 12, as the Cavaliers only scored 24 goals over the course of the full season.

However, the Cavalier defense only let in 12 goals throughout the season. Virginia sophomore goalkeeper Colin Shutler and junior goalkeeper Marcel Dasilva posted a combined goals against average of 0.68. Shutler started every regular season game in goal for Virginia, but missed both NCAA Tournament matches with an injury.

— compiled by Colin Cantwell

Women’s soccer

The Cavaliers (16-5-1, 7-3 ACC) ended their season in the third round of the NCAA tournament with a loss against No. 2 Baylor (20-6, 8-1 Big 12). With high hopes for a deep run in the playoffs, Virginia’s early departure leaves a feeling of disappointment. However, their lackluster performances in the ACC and NCAA tournaments do not represent their accomplishments and elite level of play over the course of the entire season in one of the toughest divisions in the country.

This year’s squad’s tremendous depth of talent performed at an extraordinarily high level in the regular season, reaching No. 4 in the country overall. Spreading their minutes around, 19 Cavaliers have played at least five hundred minutes each this season, and only eight of them have accumulated as many as one thousand minutes.

“It's something that every year is a little different. We've always had good depth on our team, but we haven't been this deep,” Virginia Coach Steve Swanson said. “We can put two good lineups out there and still not lose anything.”

Within the myriad of talent, a few individuals separated themselves from the bunch through a number of key performances and consistent contributions. Freshman Alexa Spaanstra leads the Wahoos with 24 points, on nine goals and six assists as well as receiving numerous All-ACC honors. With 19 points on nine goals, junior Meghan McCool is next, followed by freshman Rebecca Jarrett, who has 14 points on six goals and two assists. 

As shown by the statistics above, another hallmark to the Cavalier’s success has been their strong attack. A testament to their offensive balance, 11 players have at least two goals apiece and 12 players have at least two assists each.

Among notable accomplishments such as their seven game win streak and five Cavaliers winning All-ACC honors, Swanson earning his 400th career win has to be the most precious moment of the season. He is only the eleventh coach all-time in NCAA DI history to hit the 400-win mark. 

With a season full of record book accomplishments and performances, the Cavaliers ultimately fell short in the postseason. Looking ahead to next season, Virginia will need to find a way to perform more consistently down the stretch in order to achieve their ultimate goal of a national title.

— compiled by Alex Maniatis

Volleyball

The Virginia volleyball team, after picking up wins sporadically throughout the season, ended its year with three-straight losses including a sweep by Boston College in the regular season finale. The poor finish capped off a difficult season for the Cavaliers who ended with an overall record of 8-20 and an ACC record of 4-14. Accordingly, Virginia finished last in the conference with plenty of room for improvement.

Despite the disappointing finish, the Cavaliers’ season had plenty of bright spots. Their well-rounded win against North Carolina was enlightening. Their 13-block defensive dominance against Wake Forest was masterful. Finally, of course, their toppling of fierce rival Virginia Tech in a five-set thriller was exhilarating.

While the Cavaliers weren’t an ACC contender this year, the team’s abundant youth is a sign of hope. The only two players Virginia will be graduating this year are redshirt junior middle blocker Kat Young and senior libero Olivia Wolodkewitsch. The rest of the team is highlighted by outstanding underclassmen. Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Billiard led the team in kills with 368 and sophomore setter Megan Wilson recorded a team-leading 706 assists. On the defensive side, freshman middle blocker Milla Ciprian is leads the Cavaliers in blocking with 105 over the course of the season. In addition, versatile freshman outside hitter Grace Turner ranks inside the top 3 on the team in three different categories — kills, digs, and service aces. As Virginia head coach Aaron Smith looks towards the future, he’ll be happy to know that he has a solid, young foundation to build on.

— compiled by Vignesh Mulay

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