By Kelly Schorling
The No. 8 Virginia women’s soccer team (16-4-2) faced Washington State (12-7-2) for the second time this season on Friday night. From the kickoff, it had all too much the familiar feel from that first game in September: dominating possession from the Cavaliers with a lot of opportunities, but no conversions. These two teams played to a scoreless draw earlier this year even though the play was lopsided in Virginia’s favor.
In front of a smaller crowd on a very frigid Friday evening, the Cavaliers outshot the Cougars 22-1 and had a 7-3 corner kick advantage. Despite deflections off the crossbar and a solid effort from Washington State’s goalkeeper Gurveen Clair, who had seven saves, this time Virginia netted three goals to solidify a 3-0 defeat and their seventh straight trip to the NCAA third round this Sunday.
“We beat a very good team in Washington State tonight,” UVa coach Steve Swanson said in a VirginiaSports.com news release. “They are one of the better defensive teams we have seen all year, so to get three goals on them tells how well we played tonight. We had a really good week of practice and that carried over into the game. Our crosses were sharp, our finishing was good and our possession was excellent.”
The Cavaliers showed impeccable poise Friday night with many people commenting from the stands about how fluid the passing was and how composed the players seemed. In soccer, it is called “letting the ball do the work,” and that is just what enabled the Hoos to spread out a good Washington State defense and finish their scoring opportunities. Friday night’s game was a total team effort, and at this point in the season, that is what separates the good teams from the great teams.
The Cavaliers only needed the first 17 minutes of play to score what would be the game-deciding goal. After hitting the crossbar minutes before, senior Lauren Alwine found the back of the net for the first goal of the evening. Junior Julia Roberts fed a beautiful ball inside the box where freshman Morgan Brian was able to flick it in front of the goal for Alwine to crash on it and score. That was Alwine’s third goal of the season. Just 14 minutes later, sophomore Gloria Douglas scored her seventh goal of the season for Virginia after receiving a pass from freshman Danielle Colaprico. Then early in the second half, junior Caroline Miller received a ball from sophomore Molly Menchel to cap off the evening’s scoring with a crafty left-footed finish from within the six-yard box. She leads the Cavaliers in goals this season with 15.
Virginia’s senior goalkeeper Chantel Jones completed her 46th career shutout. Not only does she hold the NCAA record for total career shutouts, but she has also tied her own school record set for single season shutouts with 13, which she shares with Christina de Vries who originally set this record in 2004. Jones had 13 shutouts in 2007 too.
The solid win over Washington State should boost the confidence of this Virginia team as it prepares to host Virginia Tech (14-7-1) on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Hokies advanced with a 3-1 win against Texas A&M. Earlier this season the Cavaliers beat the Hokies 4-0, but it’s never an easy game against an ACC rival such as this one.
“Virginia Tech is going to be another huge challenge,” Swanson said in the news release. “All you have to do is look at the results and see how good the ACC has been. They are a good team and we knew that the first time we played them. We happened to finish very well when we played them last month, but that was a tough game and we are expecting a tough game again on Sunday.”