By Jeff White (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CHARLOTTESVILLE — One of the first questions he fielded after the game concerned Carrie Wisman, one of the four UVa women’s soccer players honored on Senior Night at Klöckner Stadium. Longtime coach Steve Swanson had to stop mid-answer to collect himself.
“She’s a good kid,” Swanson said, the emotion apparent in his voice. “Good kid.”
Wisman, a goalie from Virginia High School in Bristol, came into the regular-season finale having appeared in only two games as a Cavalier — one in 2009 and the other this year, in an Aug. 19 rout of Radford.
Still, Wisman said, “even if you don’t get the minutes on the field, you make your teammates better, and that’s what a team’s all about. It’s not how many minutes you get individually. It’s how you push your teammates and make them better.
“It’s tough, but it’s worth it. It’s so worth it.”
Wisman’s reward for her unwavering commitment to the team came Thursday night, when she started for the first time in her college career. Before being replaced after 13 minutes and 47 seconds by the Wahoos’ customary starter, Danielle DeLisle, Wisman made the first save of her career and kept 22nd-ranked Boston College off the scoreboard.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, and it’s hard to say that you could find a better person than Carrie Wisman,” Swanson told a pack of reporters. “She deserved that start tonight. I thought she was magnificent in the time she had in there.”
Wisman said: “It was amazing. Playing with this team for four years has been an awesome experience.”
As she jogged to the Virginia sideline, Wisman received a warm ovation from the crowd of 1,378. Her teammates were equally appreciative of her contribution.
“Carrie played incredible,” said another UVa senior, forward Caroline Miller. “It was awesome. She’s my roommate, she’s one of my best friends in the entire world, and I could not be happier for her right now. She saved us in the beginning of the game.”
The rest of the half didn’t go as well for the 10th-ranked `Hoos, who trailed 1-0 at the break. But Virginia blitzed BC in the second half en route to a stunning 5-1 victory at Klöckner, to which Swanson’s team is likely to return for its NCAA tournament opener next month.
“At halftime we kind of talked about the fact that we have so much potential right now and we should be winning this game and we’re not, so we just need to finish,” Miller said. “And we did. Big-time.”
In the 49th minute, junior Morgan Stith passed to sophomore Danielle Colaprico for the goal that pulled UVa (13-4-1 overall, 6-3-1) even with BC (10-6-3, 4-5-1). Freshman Emily Sonnett, off a slick pass from Miller, scored less than a minute later to put the Cavaliers ahead for good. Goals from Miller, junior Molly Menchel and sophomore Kaili Torres followed as the `Hoos humbled the Eagles (10-6-3, 4-5-1).
“I don’t think I could have asked for a better Senior Night,” said Miller, who leads Virginia with 13 goals this season. “To come back from being down 1-0 and score two goals in five minutes, three in, what, 15, and then put two in at the end, that just is a remarkable feeling.”
“I’m not going to lie,” Miller said. “I was tearing up before the game. It’s Senior Night. It’s my last regular-season game on Klöckner. I cannot describe how much I love playing here. It was kind of depressing, but it was a great night.”
The rest of the team, Swanson said, was determined not to let the seniors down.
“They worked awfully hard for [the seniors],” Swanson said, “and I think it was a good tribute to them that we played so well in the second half and we came out of here with a pretty emphatic win.”
Now comes the postseason for UVa, which finished ACC play in a four-way tie for second place with Maryland, Wake Forest and North Carolina. Under the conference’s tie-breaking system, Virginia drew the No. 5 seed in the ACC tournament and will face fourth-seeded UNC in the quarterfinals Sunday at 1 p.m. in Chapel Hill.
The teams played to a 2-2 tie in two overtimes Sept. 16 in Charlottesville.
“I think we’re playing well right now,” Swanson said. “I think we’re doing a lot things well. It doesn’t matter when you play. You gotta beat three good teams to win the ACC tournament.”
In its final four regular-season games, UVa outscored its opponents 13-2. The Cavaliers stumbled only once during that span, losing 1-0 to top-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee. The Seminoles’ goal came on a penalty kick after a questionable call in overtime.
“I think right now we’re just playing the best soccer we’ve played all season,” Brian said. “We keep scoring a lot of goals, and if we can just keep the ball out of our net, I think we’ll be fine.”
Swanson said: “I think we’ve got some good momentum. I think our team’s starting to jell a little bit more. I think the players are starting to understand one another.”
Virginia played without one of its starters, Olivia Brannon, against BC, and the sophomore defender could miss the rest of the season. Brannon was diagnosed with mononucleosis Thursday morning, “so it’s a pretty tough one for us,” Swanson said.
Junior Shasta Fisher started in Brannon’s place Thursday night and “played awfully well,” Swanson said. “It’s just a matter of getting her some more minutes there for us.”