No. 10 women’s soccer wins ACC quarterfinal match

McCool’s second-half goal sends Cavaliers to semifinals of ACC tournament

sp-MeganMcCool-CourtesyVirginiaAthletics

Sophomore forward Megan McCool’s second half goal sent the Cavaliers to the semifinals of ACC tournament.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

In a rainy 90 minutes of play, the No. 10 Virginia women’s soccer team downed No. 21 Wake Forest Sunday afternoon to move on to the semifinal round of the ACC tournament.

Although the weather made for difficult conditions, the Cavaliers (11-4-4, 6-2-3 ACC) worked through the downpour and flooded field to pick up a 2-1 win.

"We’ve been resilient all year and this was another challenge for us,” Coach Steve Swanson said. “Wake Forest is an excellent team and we knew this would be a difficult game. I’m proud of the way we responded to the challenges from the weather to being a goal down. The way we fought back gives us a little momentum going into the semifinals.”

Virginia and Wake Forest (11-5-3, 5-4-2 ACC) did not meet in the regular season this year, and the last time the two teams faced off was two years ago. The Cavaliers now have won 19 out of their 29 matchups against the Demon Deacons.

Wake Forest took the early lead when Demon Deacons’ junior midfielder Bayley Feist headed one past Virginia freshman goalkeeper Laurel Ivory. Wake Forest senior midfielder Monreau DeVos had the assist on Feist’s eighth goal of the season.

After a scoreless first half for the Cavaliers, it didn’t take long for them to find the equalizer in the second half. In the 55th minute, Virginia senior forward Veronica Latsko was taken down by a Wake Forest defender in the box, earning Virginia a penalty kick. Virginia freshman forward Taryn Torres took the shot and drove the ball into the bottom left corner to pick up her seventh goal of the season. Torres is tied for the team lead in goals with Latsko, who also has seven goals. 

With a little over 16 minutes of play left in the match, Virginia sophomore forward Meghan McCool scored the game-winner for the Cavaliers. McCool, who came in off of the bench, launched a shot from outside the box that blasted past senior goalkeeper Lindsay Preston, who had only allowed 12 goals all season prior to today. The goal was McCool’s first of the season, and the third of her career.

"These games are all opportunities and we have another opportunity ahead of us on Friday," Swanson said. "Our players responded well today and made the most of an opportunity. Hopefully all of the lessons you learn over the course of a season help you in the postseason.”

Virginia outshot Wake Forest nine to six, and took four more corner kicks than the Demon Deacons.

Although Ivory only had to make two saves in the match, given the slippery surface of the field it was not an easy afternoon for the Virginia goalkeeper.  

The Cavaliers will now travel to Charleston, S.C. to play No. 2 Duke in the semifinals on Nov. 3 at 5:30 p.m. The Blue Devils (18-1-0, 11-0-0 ACC) have not dropped a conference match this season, and are the top seed in the tournament. Duke beat Boston College 3-1 in their quarterfinal match. The Cavaliers and Blue Devils just faced off this past week, and Duke came away with the 1-0 win. Duke junior midfielder Kat McDonald scored the game-winner for the Blue Devils. 

If Virginia wins its game against Duke and makes it to the final round of the ACC tournament, it will be its third time in the final in the past four years. In 2015 and 2014 Virginia lost in the finals to Florida State. Last year, the Cavaliers were knocked out in the quarterfinal round by North Carolina. The last time Virginia won the ACC tournament was back in 2012.

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