No. 1 Virginia Heads into ACC Tournament

By: Nate Sulham Email
By: Nate Sulham Email

Virginia is two wins away from repeating as ACC Champions, but getting to that point will be as tough a test as the unbeaten Cavaliers have faced all season.

The top-ranked Hoos will put their perfect 20-0 record on the line Friday when they face No. 5 Virginia Tech in one semifinal. No. 3 Florida State and No. 4 North Carolina square off in the other semi, meaning four of the top five teams in the country are in this year's ACC field.

"There are good teams everywhere you go," ACC Coach of the Year Steve Swanson said. "Right now we're just focusing on Virginia Tech and doing everything we can to be successful in that game and then if you're fortunate enough to win it then you have to concentrate on the next one."

Virginia went a perfect 13-0 in conference play, becoming the first team to do so in seven years. They're also looking to become the first No. 1 seed to win the tournament since UNC in 2008.

"I'm excited to see these four teams tomorrow and then it's going to turn into two teams and I just can't wait," sophomore first-team all-ACC forward Makenzy Doniak said. "The atmosphere is going to be great and competitive and we're ready, for sure."

Before the Hoos can entertain any idea of raising the trophy for a second straight season they must first get by the Hokies.

These two met just last Thursday in the regular season finale for both teams. Virginia got goals from Amber Fry and Doniak in a 2-0 win, but all those involved believe that matchup will bear little impact on Friday's game.

"I think it's a completely different game, different setting," Swanson said. "Obviously they're going to be motivated because of what happened last week so we have to be ready for that and I think we will be."

"I think last week when we played them we didn't play our best game. So I think this time if we play the way we know we can play, play good soccer like we have been, then the rest will take care of itself," junior first-team all-ACC midfielder Morgan Brian added.

Cavs Land Six on All-ACC team, Swanson Earns First COTY Honor

When you finish the season as the undefeated No. 1 team in the country, postseason honors have a way of piling up.

That was the case Thursday for Virginia as six Cavaliers were named to All-ACC teams and Steve Swanson was honored as Coach of the Year.

The Cavaliers led all teams with three first-team selections:
Junior midfielder Morgan Brian, sophomore forward Makenzy Doniak and sophomore defender Emily Sonnett.

Sophomore midfielder Danielle Colaprico was a second-team selection and senior defender Molly Menchel was on the third-team. Goalkeeper Morgan Stearns was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team.

Brian earned first-team accolades for the third consecutive season. She leads the conference in scoring with 37 points, tallying 12 goals and a league-best 13 assists.

Doniak was named All-ACC for the first time. She leads the team with 14 goals this season, which ranks second in the conference.

Sonnett also was a first-time All-ACC honoree after anchoring a Cavalier defense that leads the league in goals against average (0.50) and shutouts (13). Offensively, she has contributed one goal and five assists.

Colaprico was honored for the first time as she earned second-team honors. She is second in the league in assists with nine and ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 19 points.

Menchel was named to the third team, receiving her first All-ACC accolade. She has started all 20 games at left back for the Cavaliers and is the highest-scoring defender in the league with five goals and five assists.

Stearns was named to the All-Freshman Team after starting 15 games in goal for the Cavaliers. She ranks second in the league with a 0.50 goals against average and is tied for third in the ACC with seven shutouts.

Swanson was named ACC Coach of the Year for the first time in his career. This season, he has led the Cavaliers to an undefeated record (20-0, 13-0) and the team’s first ACC regular season title.

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