Aug. 28, 2002
CHARLOTTESVILLE– – After two weeks of practice, time has come for the Virginia women’s soccer team to get the regular season underway. The 2002 edition of the Cavaliers will make its debut Saturday night at Kl?ckner Stadium as they host Saint Joseph’s at 7:00 p.m.
Although, they have yet to take the field yet, there is evidence to believe that 2002 could be one of the finest years for the Cavaliers. They return eight starters and 14 letterwinners from last season’s squad, which reached the NCAA quarterfinals. Those players are joined a freshman class which was ranked as the No. 3 recruiting class in the nation by Soccer Buzz magazine. The Cavaliers open the season ranked No. 6 in the nation in the NSCAA/adidas coaches poll, and No. 4 by Soccer Buzz and Soccer America magazines.
“We have been training hard for the past two weeks and are anxious to see where we are as a team at this point in time,” commented Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “We certainly do not feel we are a well-oiled machine yet, but we have made significant strides the past week or so. We are still in the process of solidifying roles and developing our shape offensively and defensively which is why games are so important for us now.”
The 2002 season will be a challenging one, as 11 of the Cavaliers’ 17 regular season opponents participated in the 2001 NCAA Tournament. Six of those teams are ranked in the preseason top 25 by the NSCAA, including Virginia’s second opponent, No. 3 UCLA, who the Cavaliers will play Sept. 6 in Los Angeles.
Among the returning players for Virginia is sophomore Lindsay Gusick, who scored 17 goals to tie for the ACC lead as a freshman last year. Fellow freshman All-American Gillian Hatch, ACC All-freshman selection Jessica Trainor, and second team All-ACC defender Kelly Worden are all starters from last year that return this season.
Following Saturday’s opener against Saint Joseph’s, the Cavaliers travel to Los Angeles for the UCLA Tournament where they will play Pac-10 foes UCLA and USC. Virginia returns home the following weekend as they host the Virginia Soccer Classic September 13-15.