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Soccer Looks to Upend No. 1 Virginia Thursday

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Miami women’s soccer team will travel to Klockner Stadium Thursday looking to hand No. 1 Virginia its first loss of the regular season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Coming off an impressive 3-3 double-overtime draw against Boston College, the Hurricanes (8-6-1, 3-6-1 ACC) hope to continue momentum against one of the nation’s premier sides. The Cavaliers have opened the season a perfect 16-0-0, including a flawless 10-0-0 start to conference competition.

Miami used a sparkling performance from striker duo Ashley Flinn and Jasmine Paterson to earn a point last time out against the Eagles. Flinn, who ranks sixth in the ACC with 10 goals this season, potted a first-half equalizer, while Paterson scored her fourth of the year to send Miami to a 3-2 advantage in the middle stages of the second half.

Despite earning just one point after losing a second-half lead, head coach Mary-Frances Monroe was pleased with her team’s snapping of a two-game losing skid.

“We’re definitely happy we got a point,” Monroe said after the match. “Points have been a little difficult to get in the past few games, and that’s what I said to them after the game.”

The Hurricanes faced a deficit on two separate occasions – 1-0 in the first half and 2-1 in the beginning of the second– but fought back to eventually take the lead. The change in mentality encouraged Monroe and her staff, who have preached the importance of taking no minutes off.

“I think we learned a lot. There were definitely games this season when we put our heads down,” she said. “You can’t be complacent. We talked as a team and said it’s not good enough. Everything matters – every inch, every second, every movement. I think they really took it to heart.”

Senior Tara Schwitter, who scored Miami’s other goal in the draw with Boston College, also sensed a difference in her team’s efforts Sunday.

“It was such a big game for our team. We needed a momentum shift,” Schwitter said. “Although it was only a tie, a point is a point, and at this point in the season, that’s what we’re playing for.  When we click as a team, we do a really good job and we can play with anybody.”

The Hurricanes will need a similar mentality if they hope to emerge victorious at Klockner Thursday night. The Cavaliers are led offensively by Morgan Brian (nine goals, 11 assists), Makenzy Doniak (12 goals, five assists) and Brittany Ratcliffe (11 goals, one assist), while Morgan Stearns ranks third among all conference goalkeepers with a 0.52 GAA.