Virginia women's soccer opens up the NCAA Tournament on Friday as the top seed.
"Getting a one seed is really cool and obviously exciting, but that is pretty much all it is getting a one seed," said UVA keeper Morgan Stearns. "It doesn't guarantee us any wins, it doesn't guarantee us any further movement in the tournament, so it's pretty much a place in the tournament the way a lot of us look at it."
As the number one seed, the Cavaliers would host every game in the tournament until the final two games.
"We are so excited to get a number one seed in the tournament," said junior midfielder, Alexis Shaffer. "I mean to work to get into the tournament is always a lucky opportunity to get in because a lot teams really hard all year and don't even get in so for us to get in and get a number one seed, I mean it's amazing, we get to play on Klockner the whole time until we get to the final four."
The ACC regular season champions open up the tournament against Howard on Friday at Klockner. However, this team has known some heartbreak. Virginia is coming off a loss to Florida State in the ACC Tournament Finals, and has lost in the College Cup the last three seasons.
“I told our team after the ACC final that it’s a privilege to be in the NCAA Tournament and you’re only guaranteed one game, so we have to focus on Howard and earn the right to move on,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “Playing at home is a reward for the work you’ve done in the regular season.
“Being a number one seed was one of our goals, but it doesn’t guarantee anything more than playing at home. That’s a big advantage, because it means we’re playing at home and gives us incentive. We’ve done well at Klöckner and that’s due, in large part, to our fans. We’re excited to play here on Friday.”
The Cavs not only have one of the top scoring offenses this season, averaging over three goals a game with 14 different goal scorers this season, the defense posted 12 clean sheets and 11 goals all season. Senior striker Makenzy Doniak had 10 goals and 10 assists this year, and was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year after surpassing a program record for points. Centre back Emily Sonnett was named the ESPNW National Player of the Year and was selected as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Howard comes into the game averaging over three games a game, and allowing 29 goals this season. A player to watch for the Bison is Kela Gray, who has 17 goals this season.