Team advances in NCAA tournament
Jones’ record 45th career shutout makes goals from Roberts, Brian stand up during 2-0 first-round victory
The No. 8 Virginia women's soccer team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 2-0 victory Friday against Northeast Conference champion Long Island. Both goals came in the first half as the Cavaliers (15-4-2) controlled the tempo for most of the game, outshooting the Blackbirds (12-8-1) 19-4 and owning a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.
"It was a good win," coach Steve Swanson said. "I thought we moved the ball quite well today. Obviously that first goal was really important just to calm us down and settle us down a little bit. I thought we had chances to break the game open and that didn't happen, but I didn't think that there was really a time that we weren't in control of the game."
The first goal came only four minutes into the match. After a foul right outside the box, junior midfielder Julia Roberts stepped up and knocked in a shot just over the wall and past the goalkeeper. The goal marked Roberts' sixth tally on the year and her third coming from a free kick.
"I felt on tonight," Roberts said. "With free kicks, I've been practicing them a lot so my confidence has been getting better. I've hit a few this season so I just went up and took that one."
After Long Island managed to hold off the Virginia attack for most of the first half, the Cavaliers found the back of the net again only a minute before halftime. Sophomore forward Amber Fry slipped a cross to freshman midfielder Morgan Brian, who buried the chance into the goal off the post. It was Brian's ninth goal on the season and her sixth goal during the past seven games.
"It was a good cross from Amber," Brian said. "I just looked up and the left side of the net was open so I placed it there."
Virginia struggled offensively during the second half as Long Island packed in its defense and hoped to convert a stray counter-attack opportunity into a goal. Despite taking 10 shots in the half, the Cavaliers failed to find the back of the net.
"Even when we were up 2-0, [Long Island] never really came out and put pressure on us," Swanson said. "I thought they might put a little more pressure on us in the second half and just go for it. But it didn't really happen. We were up and they had to come and get the ball."
Senior goalkeeper Chantel Jones recorded her 45th shutout to take sole possession of the NCAA career shutout record. The sixth-year senior is confident that her team will make her last NCAA Tournament run a special one.
"I feel good," Jones said. "I felt a little bit of pressure because this is it, but that quickly went away once we started playing. I have so much confidence in this team and I know that we can go far so it's up to us. I'm really excited."
Virginia will face ninth-seeded Washington State in the second round, a rematch of a Sept. 9 battle in Charlottesville in which the two teams played to a scoreless draw. The Cougars defeated Kentucky in penalty kicks Saturday night to advance to the second round.
The game kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. in Klöckner Stadium.