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Mt. Rushmore Series: Virginia Women’s Soccer

These four have helped define a program of consistency.

Alex Cheung | Streaking the Lawn

Much like the men’s team, Virginia Cavaliers women’s soccer has proven to be a consistent force on the national scene for the better part of this century. Since 2000, that includes 20 straight NCAA Tournament appearances (they haven’t missed the Big Dance since 1993), fourteen consecutive trips to the Round of 16 from 2005-2018, and back-to-back College Cup (Final Four) appearances in 2013-14.

Of all of that success the program has seen over the years, none can match the impact that the four who comprise our Mt. Rushmore have made during their time in Charlottesville. Let’s find out who they are:

Steve Swanson, Head Coach 2000-current

Since taking over the head coaching position for the Cavaliers at the turn of the century, Swanson has established himself as one of the premier coaches in women’s soccer. A regular on the U.S. Women’s National Team sidelines as an assistant coach, Swanson has been named NSCAA National Coach of the Year (2013) and ACC Coach of the Year twice (2013, 2015) during his time on grounds.

With a record of 315-94-48, he is by far the winningest coach in program history, and sits within the Top 20 for most wins by any head coach in the sport all-time. Having claimed two ACC titles (2004, 2012) and College Cup berths (2013, 2014), Swanson hopes he can take the next step in the coming years by finally leading the Wahoos to their first national championship.

Morgan Brian, Midfielder 2011-2014

On the player side, the list has to start with Brian.

A prized recruit coming out of high school, the Georgia native more than surpassed the lofty expectations during her illustrious career, gaining recognition as a three-time All-American, four-time All-ACC First Team player and National Freshman of the Year. Most notably, Brian also took home the Mac Hermann Trophy, given to the nation’s best player, in both 2013 and 2014 - the first and last Cavalier to earn the distinction.

A member of the U.S. Women’s National teams that won the World Cups in 2015 and 2019, Brian was the catalyst for the most successful stretch in program history, having tallied a combined 41 goals and 43 assists for the orange and blue. After bowing out in the quarterfinals and Round of 16 in her freshman and sophomore seasons, respectively, the Cavaliers would go on to reach the College Cup in the latter two years of her career, falling in the title game to Florida State, 1-0, in 2014.

Becky Sauerbrunn, Defenseman 2003-2007

Sauerbrunn was a fixture along the Cavaliers back line during the middle of the 2000s, logging the second-most minutes in school history (8,523) and owning the record for games started (91) by the end of her career. A three-time All-ACC and two-time All-American honoree, she was named both conference Freshman of the Year (2003) and Defensive Player of the Year (2007).

Like Brian, Sauerbrunn has also been a mainstay on the Women’s National Team, playing a significant role on several championship-winning Olympic and World Cup Teams. The former Wahoo has earned 164 caps in total.

Makenzy Doniak, Forward 2012-2015

Doniak occupies the final spot on Streaking The Lawn’s Mt. Rushmore for Virginia women’s soccer.

A teammate of Brian’s on the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars, Doniak ranks at or near the top of nearly every offensive statistical category in UVA history. That includes a first place position in career points (164), career goals (64), season points (51), season goals (20), game points (8) and game goals (4). She also ranks second in game-winning goals for a career (18) and a season (6).

Doniak’s efforts on the pitch made her a three-time All-American and All-ACC first-teamer, as well as the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year (2015).

Honorable Mentions:

Emily Sonnett, Defenseman 2012-2015

The obvious potential replacement pick, Sonnett was a two-time All-American and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year during her senior season (2015). She was one of three Cavaliers (along with Brian and Sauerbrunn) on the U.S.’ 2019 World Cup winning team.

Angela Hucles, Forward 1996-1999

Hucles, who won two gold medals with the USWNT in 2004 and 2008, ranks second behind Doniak in career points (138) and goals (59).

Lori Lindsey, Midfielder 1998-2001

The star of Swanson’s early teams in Charlottesville, Lori Lindsey was twice an All-American and ACC Player of the Year (2000, 2001).