Women’s soccer beats Richmond, 1-0

Cavaliers bounce back from first loss of season with win at home

sp-WSoccerWestrup-CourtesyVirginiaAthletics

Junior defender Brianna Westrup scored her first goal of the season and Virginia's only goal in the Cavaliers' 1-0 victory over Richmond.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics | Cavalier Daily

After suffering its first loss of the season against Wisconsin Thursday night, No. 3 Virginia responded Sunday with a 1-0 win at home against Richmond. 

“Wisconsin definitely kind of figured out our system and [found] a way to put us under pressure that we weren’t used to,” junior defender Brianna Westrup said. “It was really just trying to get two pretty good practices in, raise the level, try to make better decisions on the ball and off the ball and break down the defense … [Today] we did a better job trying to control the game and play our game.”

When the Cavaliers (4-1-0) and Spiders (0-4-0) faced off last year, Virginia came away with a 5-0 victory. Sunday, however, the Cavaliers were not able to convert all of their opportunities into goals, making the lone first half goal the game-winner. 

“Richmond is always very organized and is a difficult team to break down, but I felt this was more us competing with ourselves in certain areas,” Coach Steve Swanson said. 

While the Cavaliers generated 16 shots and seven corner kicks in the first half, Richmond goalkeeper Olivia Sjodin made numerous big stops to keep Virginia from turning its dominance in possession into dominance on the scoreboard. A save in a 1 vs. 1 situation with senior forward Veronica Latsko, who was a preseason all ACC selection, was among the eight saves Sjodin made in the first half. 

In the 25th minute, the Cavaliers finally got one past Sjodin and get on the scoreboard when Westrup headed one in off of a corner kick from sophomore forward Taylor Ziemer. The goal was Westrup’s first of the season and second of her career. 

Richmond only got off two shots against the Cavaliers’ defense in the first half, however, one of those shots came from a breakaway and required freshman goalkeeper Laurel Ivory to come off her line and make a big save.  

In the second half, Virginia continued to possess the ball for most of the game, but could not find the back of the net. Virginia finished the game with 30 shots and 18 corner kicks, while Sjodin collected four more saves to finish with 12. 

“We’re happy with the result ... But to be fair we have to get better,” Swanson said. “We turned the ball over a lot unnecessarily and obviously we didn’t finish our chances that we created, and those kinds of things will come back to haunt you if you’re not careful, but hopefully we can learn from this game and move forward.”

Ivory, who was named the ACC defensive player of the week last week, agreed that there was improvement to be made saying.

“Attacking going forward, we did that well,” Ivory said. “Staying compact and letting in no goals is always a plus and getting a win is always a plus, but we really need to make a better effort in just putting the ball in the back of the net because we had countless chances ... 30 shots and one goal is something we need to work on.” 

While the Cavaliers recognized they weren’t making the most of their goal-scoring opportunities, their positivity was crucial in not letting the missed chances turn into frustration.

“You’ve just got to say positive,” Westrup said. “It’s not fun for any team when you can’t get the ball in the back of the net, but we try to believe in each other and lift each other up, and know the next one is going to come.”

The positive team spirit will be crucial for the Cavaliers in this upcoming week, with both No. 1 UCLA and No. 4 Penn State traveling to Charlottesville for big match ups. 

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