Virginia tops UNC in ACC semifinal


GREENSBORO, N.C. — Fourth-ranked Virginia advanced to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament final with a 2-0 victory against No. 5 North Carolina Friday night at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.

The Cavaliers (18-1) recorded their eighth consecutive victory while snapping the Tar Heels’ (12-3-2) 12-game unbeaten streak. Virginia will play second-ranked Florida State in Sunday’s championship game.

Junior Makenzy Doniak and sophomore Morgan Reuther scored first half goals to lift Virginia to the win, while the Cavalier defense posted its ninth shutout of the season.

“We are very happy with the win and the chance to play in another ACC final,” Virginia coach Steve Swanson said. “Carolina does some things, pressure wise, that make it difficult to play them, but I thought our players handled it very well, especially in the first half. We really had some good chances in the first half, not just the ones we scored on, where we really could have opened up the game even more. I thought we managed the game well in the second half and didn’t give them any chances to get back into it.”

The Cavaliers took the lead in the 11th minute on Doniak’s team-leading 14th goal of the year. Kristen McNabb’s clearance from the back found Alexis Shaffer open on the flank. Shaffer took a touch before delivering a through ball that sent Doniak in on a breakaway, a chance she buried inside the far post. It marked the seventh consecutive game with a goal for Doniak, as she draws within one game of the school record goal streak.

Virginia doubled the advantage in the 29th minute as Danielle Colaprico delivered a ball to Reuther, who cut to the top of the 18 and fired a shot just under the crossbar for her fifth goal of the season. It was Colaprico’s ACC-leading 15th assist of the season, which set a new UVa single-season record.

The two first half goals were all Virginia needed as the Cavaliers kept the Tar Heels off the scoreboard. With the win, Virginia becomes the first school to defeat North Carolina in four consecutive years.

Overall, Virginia outshot North Carolina 10-5 and had a 3-2 corner kick advantage. Sophomore Morgan Stearns made one save to post her fifth shutout of the year, the 14th of her career. Bryane Heaberlin made three saves in the first half for the Tar Heels before giving way to Lindsey Harris in the second half.

Virginia is appearing in its fifth ACC Tournament final. The Cavaliers won the championship in 2004 and 2012.

Scott Harrigan
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