Cavalier Corner

October 2016

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BY ANDREW RAMSPACHER S OME 20 YARDS AWAY FROM her teammates, Morgan Stearns was engaged in a one-on-one meeting with Steve Swanson. The University of Virginia women's soccer team was leading Rich- mond 2-0 at halftime. Stearns, the Cava- liers' star fourth-year goalkeeper, was on an unprecedented shutout streak of more than 800 minutes. But Swanson, UVA's head coach of 17 seasons, sensed frustration. The opening stanza to this Sept. 8 match at Klöckner Stadium wasn't Stearns' fin- est. A couple misplayed balls nearly led to disaster, providing serious opportunities for the Spiders to become the first opponent to score on Stearns in 10 months. "Listen," Swanson told her, "this is ex- actly what you need. These are the moments where you have to embrace the challenge here and see if you can grow from it." Even the best can get better. Stearns, turning away the only shot Rich- mond fired at her, was back to her dominant self in the second half. Virginia won 5-0, taking another step toward what very well could be the first national championship in program history. Stearns was in net on Dec. 6, 2013, when the Cavaliers played in the College Cup semifinals against UCLA. She was also there a year later when UVA fell to Florida State in the national title game. Her résumé is already loaded with ac- complishments. She's the program's all- time wins leader for a keeper, and boasted a 62-6-5 career record through games played Sept. 25. Her program-record shutout streak reached more than 900 minutes — spanning 10 games — before it finally fell. And she is a current member of the Under-20 United States National Team. Not bad when you consider her soccer ca- reer started in jeans, a T-shirt and no shoes. Stearns, who admits basketball is her first love, was observing her sister in a fut- WAHOO RAISED Standout Fourth-Year Goalkeeper Morgan Stearns Grew Up In A Virginia Family

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