Just a few days remain until the Cavaliers take the field at Klockner Stadium to begin their latest quest for a national championship. As one of the premier women's soccer programs in the country, many believe it's only a matter of time before the Hoos capture that elusive first title. Once again, UVA has a talented roster capable of another run to the College Cup. But as always, Virginia will first have to go through the gauntlet of the ACC, which looks to be the best and most competitive conference in the country.
Virginia is ranked No. 4 in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason poll and the Cavaliers were picked to finish second in the Atlantic Coast Conference, where they are the reigning regular season champions.
Here's a breakdown of the roster and schedule for the 2022 Virginia women's soccer season:
With the notable exception of Diana Ordoñez, who finished her three-year career third on UVA's all-time scoring list with 45 goals, Virginia returns its top five producers of goals and points. In addition to Ordoñez, the 2021 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, UVA will have to replace midfielders Taryn Torres and Sydney Zandi, All-ACC goalkeeper Laurel Ivory, and defender Lizzy Sieracki, who now serves on the Virginia coaching staff as a volunteer assistant after appearing in 86 games over the course of her career.
Senior Cayla White and fifth-year Michaela Moran have some experience in cage for the Cavaliers, but they will have to fill the large shoes of Laurel Ivory, who ended her career with 194 saves (fourth all-time), a .670 goals against average (third all-time), 42 career shutouts (second-all-time), and 68 career wins (second-all time), in 100 career starts, which is the most by any player in program history. White and Moran have been in the program for a long time and played behind Ivory for the last four seasons, which will hopefully allow them to contribute steady and experienced play at the back of the UVA defense this fall.
Fortunately, the Cavaliers will field what should be one of the best defensive lines in the country this season. Loaded with experienced veterans, UVA's defensive unit features fifth-year Claire Constant (80 career appearances), senior Talia Staude (63 career appearances), junior Laney Rouse (35 career appearances), junior Samar Guidry (40 career appearances), and grad student Sarah Clark (75 career appearances). Talia Staude was a 2021 selection to the ACC Championship All-Tournament Team, while Samar Guidry was named the All-ACC Second Team last season. Guidry and Laney Rouse are currently playing for the U.S. U-20 Women's Youth National Team at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Costa Rica.
The UVA midfield is led by 2021 First-Team All-ACC selection Lia Godfrey, who had a team-high 12 assists to go along with three goals last season. Godfrey, who was also selected to the Preseason All-ACC Team, is joined in the midfield by junior Alexis Theoret, senior Lacey McCormack, and senior Emma Dawson.
With star striker Diana Ordoñez off to the National Women's Soccer League, Steve Swanson will be looking towards a few specific Cavaliers to step up at the forward position. Graduate student Haley Hopkins earned Third-Team All-ACC honors in her first season in Charlottesville after transferring from Vanderbilt. Hopkins tallied eight goals and nine assists for a total of 25 points and was second on the team in each of those categories last season. Also returning is fifth-year Alexa Spaanstra, who garnered a selection to the All-ACC Second Team in 2021 and who has 29 goals and 29 assists to her name in her UVA career thus far. Spaanstra was also selected to the Preseason All-ACC Team alongside Lia Godfrey.
The biggest storyline at the forward spot is the return of Rebecca Jarrett, who suffered a season-ending injury after playing in just four games in 2021. Jarrett has accounted for 18 goals and 16 assists over the last four years and was an All-ACC Second-Team selection in the 2020-2021 season. When Jarrett is at her best, she can produce endless offensive opportunities from the wing. Jarrett returning to form could be the key to a successful season for Virginia this fall.
Virginia's 18-match regular season schedule features 12 home games at Klockner Stadium. Seven of UVA's eight non-conference games are in Charlottesville, with the exception of an August 25th trip to Washington D.C. to face Georgetown.
In ACC play, Virginia will travel to North Carolina, Notre Dame, Duke, Virginia Tech, and Miami and the Cavaliers will host Louisville, Florida State, Syracuse, Wake Forest, and NC State.
UVA has matches against six teams ranked in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason top 25 on its regular season schedule: at No. 19 Georgetown (Aug. 25), vs. No. 22 Memphis (Sept. 4), at No. 10 North Carolina (Sept. 17), vs. No. 16 Notre Dame (Sept. 22), at No. 2 Duke (Sept. 30), and vs. No. 1 Florida State (Oct. 6).
See Virginia's full 18-game schedule below:
Aug. 18th at 7pm
Aug. 21st at 6pm
Aug. 25th at 4pm
Aug. 28th at 2pm
Sept. 1st at 5pm
Sept. 4th at 6pm
Sept. 8th at 6pm
Sept. 11th at 2pm
Sept. 17th at 7pm
at North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC
Sept. 22nd at 7p,
at Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN
Sept. 25th at 2pm
Sept. 30th at 7pm
Oct. 6th at 8pm
Oct. 9th at 2pm
Oct. 13th at 8pm
at Virginia Tech
Oct. 20th at 7pm
Oct. 23rd at 2pm
Oct. 27th at 6pm
The 2022 ACC Women's Soccer Championship begins on October 30th with the semifinals (Nov. 3rd) and championship (Nov. 6) taking place at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
Virginia opens its 2022 season on Thursday, August 18th at 7pm against George Mason at Klockner Stadium.