1. Giants Reyering and Soumare lead Virginia


Virginia will look to return to the NCAA Division I men's final four for the first time since 1997 when it hosts Notre Dame Friday night at Kloeckner Stadium.

The Cavs, who have lost in their last four trips to the quarterfinals (1998, 1999, 2000 and 2005), feature two of the most imposing players in the country in sophomore forward Yannick Reyering and freshman defender Bakary Soumare.

The 6-foot-5 Reyering scored two second-half goals to lead the Cavs past California, 2-1, in the third round on Saturday. The goals gave him a team-high 11 for the season. Despite his size, it's Reyering's technique and tactical sense that stand out.

"There is a different quality about him," Virginia coach George Gelnovatch told the Washington Post recently. "He's a big guy, but I think of him as a technical finisher with both feet. He has that savvy ability and, when he hits it, it's going to be heavy and on target."

The 6-foot-4 Soumare has battled back from injuries to win a starting job in the middle of the Cavalier defense. His size and strength helped shut down some of the country's most dangerous strikers in ACC play and earn second-team all-conference honors as a redshirt freshman. He played one minute in 2005 when he was sidelined with a foot injury that required three surgeries.

Reyering and Soumare don't the fit the usual Virginia mold of American-born and -bred players.

Reyering was raised in Germany, where he grew up in the VfL Osnabrueck youth system. He made the first team, for which he played three games, but turned down a pro contract to consider a move to the United States. Reyering, who discovered the Virginia program in an Internet search of American college soccer programs, has only one more year of eligibility because of his participation with Osnabrueck's first team.

Soumare was born in Mali, spent his childhood in the Paris area and now lives in New York. He was highly recruited out of high school after playing for LaSalle Academy and the Albertson Red Storm Arrows.

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