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CHARLOTTESVILLE — The Virginia women’s soccer team returns to action on Thursday as it visits NC State. Game time at Method Road Stadium in Raleigh is slated for 4 p.m.

The Cavaliers (8-1-3) moved up to No. 4 this week in the Soccer America rankings after a 1-1 tie with Florida State and a 1-0 overtime victory over Miami last week. Virginia is 2-0-2 in the ACC and sits second in the conference standings.

Virginia enters the contest with the nation’s top defense. In the latest release of the national statistics by the NCAA on Monday, the Cavaliers rank first in goals against average (0.230) and shutouts (10). Goalkeeper Chantel Jones’ (Midlothian, Va.) 0.238 goals against average is also best in the nation.

The Cavaliers are led offensively by Shannon Foley (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), who has six goals and five assists on the season. Her sixth goal of the year came Sunday as she scored in the 107th minute to lift UVa to a 1-0 win over Miami.

NC State is 5-4-2 on the year, but is looking for its first conference win of the season, having started 0-3-0 in the ACC play. The Wolfpack lost 1-0 to Duke on Sunday, but nearly sent the game to overtime. As time was running out, Briana Cunningham sent a long shot that beat the Blue Devil keeper and found the back of the net, but officials determined the final horn sounded prior to the ball crossing the goal line.

Virginia leads the all-time series 17-11-1 and has won the past 12 meetings between the programs. Last season, the teams met at Method Road Stadium in the final regular season game of the year. The Cavaliers got two goals from Jess Rostedt (Kent, Ohio), including the game-winner in overtime, to score a 3-2 victory.

The Cavaliers return home on Sunday to host No. 21 Clemson (8-2-1, 1-1-1 ACC). Game time at Klckner Stadium is 2 p.m. and the match will be broadcast live online by ACC Select.

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