Top-Seed Cavaliers Ready to Resume Postseason

By: Nate Sulham Email
By: Nate Sulham Email

It's been a while since the Virginia women's soccer team has played a game -- six days, in fact.

But the top-seeded Wahoos will return to the pitch Friday when they host Georgetown in NCAA Tournament second round play at Klöckner Stadium.

"We're just excited to play again," sophomore forward Makenzy Doniak said. "We had some time off, time to practice. I think we're defintiely ready to get going."

The Hoos are in the second round after rolling past St. Francis, 5-0, in the opener last Friday.

Virginia is used to playing in big games so the pressure of NCAA win-or-go-home games is something the players are familiar with.

"We've played in big games all season so that helps but this is an NCAA game so there's always nerves I think," senior midfielder Annie Steinlage explained. "But a little bit of nerves can be a good thing and I think we'll use that to our advantage."

"(Postseason) is moving fast and if you lose you're out," Doniak added. "So definitely the intensity is high and every team is out for blood. We're all gunning for the same thing so it's definitely high competition."

The Cavs will be facing a Georgetown team that lost just twice all season and is third in the country in scoring.

"They're well-coached, very good players, solid at every position," Virginia head coach Steve Swanson said. "I think it will be a good soccer game for sure. We expect a very difficult match."

Swanson's team was ranked No. 1 for much of the regular season, so playing with a target on their backs is nothing new to them.

"When (Georgetown) plays us I'm guessing they want to play well and have their best performance," Donaik said. "So that in turn makes us want to play better against every team we play because we know that we're going to get other teams' best performance."

A win Friday would pit the Wahoos against the winner of the Wake Forest/Penn State match.

Virginia has played each team this season. The Cavs beat the Nittany Lions 5-1 in Charlottesville in late August and shut out the Demon Deacons 2-0 in mid-October.

But Swanson believes it will take a total team effort if the Cavaliers want to keep playing.

"I don't think we can afford to not be good in one area and come out with a result," he said. "The rest of these games, if we continue to move forward, are going to take a good effort and we'll have to be very good in all phases of our game."

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