Virginia’s impressive start to the 2019 season has now earned the Cavaliers (8-0, 0-0 ACC) a No. 1 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches Poll. It’s the first time Virginia has held the top spot since 2015.
While the Cavaliers started the season at No. 9, they quickly caught fire and recorded three straight shutout wins before conceding their first goal to West Virginia. In their first eight games, the Cavaliers have outscored opponents 35-3, working a high-powered attack that has been unmatched thus far.
Coach Steve Swanson is serving his 20th season at the helm of the Virginia program. In Swanson’s time at Virginia, the Cavaliers have advanced to the Round of 16 at the NCAA Championships for 14 consecutive seasons. The team lost in the championship game in 2014, and reached the quarterfinals in 2015. In total, Virginia has made 19 NCAA appearances and brought home two ACC titles.
Virginia has remained composed this season despite facing difficult opponents — including No. 12 Georgetown and No. 23 Penn State. Both posed challenges to the Virginia defense, but senior defenders Phoebe McClernon and Zoe Morse were able to shut down opposing attacks and turn the ball over to Virginia attackers. Junior goalkeeper Laurel Ivory has also proved vital as a last line of defense against talented goal-scorers.
Key playmakers this season include freshman forward Diana Ordonez, senior forward Meghan McCool and sophomore forwards Alexa Spaanstra and Rebecca Jarrett. Each has added to Virginia’s scoring prowess — with 36 goals, the team is one goal shy of tying Louisiana Tech for the most goals this season.