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The game that was circled on the schedule at the start of the season has finally arrived. The No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers women’s soccer team travels to Tallahassee on Thursday night for a showdown with the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles.

The Hoos will be looking for revenge after Florida State ended their postseason run last year.

UVA and FSU last met on May 13th in the semifinals of the College Cup. Virginia entered the NCAA Tournament as an unseeded team, but won four straight matches to advance to the College Cup for the fourth time in program history. Florida State was the heavy favorite as the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, but the Cavaliers came in as one of the hottest teams in the country.

After 110 minutes of regulation and overtime, the match remained scoreless. Virginia’s amazing postseason run came to a swift end in the penalty kick shootout, as the Cavaliers missed each of their first three attempts, while the Seminoles converted all three of their shots to win the match and advance to the National Championship Game.

It was a heartbreaking conclusion for a UVA women’s soccer program that had the talent, the coaching, and the momentum to win the first national title in program history.

Nearly six months later, another NCAA Tournament is right around the corner and the Cavaliers will certainly be among the favorites to make a deep run towards the College Cup.

But before that happens, the Wahoos have a date with the Seminoles in Tallahassee in the final game of the regular season, looking to avenge the semifinal loss.

Florida State had been the No. 1 team in the country all season and had won every single game until this past week. The Seminoles began a tough stretch of three straight games against top-10 teams to end the season. FSU played at No. 7 North Carolina last Thursday and played the Tar Heels to a 2-2 draw in Chapel Hill. On Sunday, the Seminoles played then-No. 6 Duke in Durham and suffered their first loss of the season in a 1-0 defeat to the Blue Devils, who are now ranked No. 2 in the country.

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The loss allowed the Cavaliers, who have been ranked No. 2 in the nation for several weeks this season, to rise to the No. 1 spot in United Soccer Coaches Poll in the final week of the regular season. Of course, the numbers in front of the name are meaningless. What matters is that these are two of the best teams in the country.

The Cavaliers and Seminoles have played a number of dramatic matches in recent history in addition to last year’s College Cup semifinal. Earlier in the 2020-2021 season, Florida State bested Virginia 4-3 in Charlottesville. The Seminoles took a 3-1 lead into halftime, but UVA rallied and scored two goals to tie the game midway through the second half. A Clara Robbins goal in the 81st minute propelled FSU to the victory.

Virginia and Florida State also met twice in the 2019 season, with the Hoos prevailing in overtime in both matches. Senior Meghan McCool scored the golden goal in the 104th minute in the second overtime period to lift the Cavaliers over the Seminoles on October 13th, 2019 in Tallahassee. Then, in the semifinals of the ACC Championship, UVA took down FSU 2-1 in overtime in Cary, North Carolina. After a scoreless first half, Zoe Morse scored to give Virginia a 1-0 lead, but Kristen McFarland notched the equalizer for Florida State to send the match into overtime. In the 97th minute, Rebecca Jarrett collected a rebound and put it in the top left corner of the goal to win the match.

Virginia will be eager to snap a two-game losing streak to Florida State on Thursday night. The match is set to begin at 7pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network. 

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