One of the surprises of the NCAA Division I Women's Tournament is Virginia, which moved into the Sweet 16 with 2-0 wins over No. 9 West Virginia and No. 19 Wake Forest.
If the Cavs
beat No. 18 Texas A&M Friday night in College Station, they will return to the quarterfinals for the second year in a row. Two weeks ago, Virginia considered itself lucky to have a shot at
making the NCAAs. It had lost in the first round of the ACC Tournament and fell to 10-7-2.
The Cavs' performance at the Wake regional was a turnaround from their regular-season form.
They had struggled terribly away from Charlottesville, scoring only one goal on the road until their regular-season finale, a 3-2 overtime win at N.C. State.
Against both West Virginia
and Wake Forest, Virginia came out attacking. The Cavs didn't score against the Mountaineers in the first half, but star Jess Rostedt
hit the crossbar and
UVa had the edge in play. The Cavs won the first-round game on goals by Julia Falk
and Nikki Lieb
in the second half.
Against Wake, Virginia set the tone early, scoring in the seventh minute against the wind. Rostedt was sprung by Jen Redmond
and Falk and scored on a
breakaway. The goals have life easier for keeper Christina de Vries
and the UVa backline.
"We are scoring, and that was what we had trouble doing,"
de Vries told
the Cavalier Daily
. "Now we are putting balls in the back of
the net, and me and the defense as a whole are all very confident that we can stop any other team's offense -- we have an extremely athletic backline that will be hard for anyone to score on."
NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN THIRD ROUND Nov. 17
Notre Dame (22-0-1) vs. No. 4. Colorado (14-5-4), 7:30 ET
No. 2. Texas A&M (16-5-1) vs. Virginia (12-7-2), 6 pm CT
No. 2. UCLA (19-3-0) vs. No. 3. Florida (14-5-5), 7 pm PT
(15-6-1) vs. Clemson (11-7-4), 7 pm PT Nov. 18
No. 1. North Carolina (23-1-0) vs. No. 4. Tennessee (12-6-4), 6 pm ET Nov. 19
No. 2. Florida State (16-3-4) vs. No. 3. Illinois (16-7-0), 1 pm ET (TV: Sun Sports, live)
No. 2. Penn State (17-4-3) vs. Boston College (12-6-3), 1 pm ET
Texas (18-3-3) vs. Portland (16-3-3), 1 pm CT