Women’s soccer knocked out of NCAA Tournament

Virginia beats Texas Tech, loses to Baylor in Round of 16

meghan-mccool

Junior forward Meghan McCool was the only Cavalier to score in Virginia's 2-1 loss against Baylor.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

After claiming victory against Texas Tech in a last-minute shootout Friday, the No. 12 Virginia’s women’s soccer team luck ran out in a nail-biter against an evenly matched No. 11 Baylor team Monday, falling 2-1.

In the second-round matchup against Texas Tech, the match began quickly and both teams set a fast pace of play, ceasing to slow down for the rest of the 110 minutes. The Cavaliers outshot the Raiders 5-4 in the first half with both teams firing and attacking the net. 

To start the second half, the Cavaliers got off to a hot start with five shots and three corners in the first 15 minutes of the period, but failed to capitalize on any of these opportunities. Virginia’s offensive surge continued for the rest of the match, as they were able to tally a 16-10 advantage in shots and a 10-2 advantage in corner kicks for the game. 

In extra time, neither team created many chances on frame, but the Cavaliers pulled through with the advantage in penalty kicks.

"It was a very hard-fought game and I'm impressed with Texas Tech," Virginia Coach Steve Swanson said. “We knew it would be a game like this. We did well to create chances in the game and got a couple of really good looks, but unfortunately didn't capitalize. We're happy to be moving on, but it's a tough spot for any team. We've been there before on their end.”

With that victory, Virginia advanced to its fourteenth consecutive Round of 16 match, the NCAA’s longest active streak. Additionally, the Cavaliers’ 25th-straight NCAA tournament appearance is the NCAA’s second-longest active streak, and their 31st overall NCAA Tournament appearance is the second-most of any Division 1 NCAA women’s soccer program.

By the smallest of margins, the No. 3 seed Virginia’s season came to an end last night against the No. 2 seed Baylor.

“I think we're all very gutted,” Swanson said. “You look at the game and you can pick out about five minutes in the first half and 40 seconds in the second half that were the difference in the game. From our perspective, I thought the effort was there. That's a tough game to lose.”

Baylor struck first with a header in the first six minutes of play. It was the result of a sequence of shots and pressure to open the match. The Cavaliers answered in the 17th minute of action on a breakaway opportunity converted by junior forward Meghan McCool.

The match remained tied up until the 54th minute of regulation when Baylor scored on a counterattack to take the lead by one. Needing a goal to force overtime and force an opportunity to advance to the Elite 8, the Cavaliers amplified their intensity and level of play in the final 25 minutes of play. Virginia controlled the majority of the possession and applied tremendous pressure in the attacking front, resulting in many dangerous opportunities in the box. 

Despite the seven to one advantage in shots in the final 36 minutes of regulation, the Cavaliers could not find the equalizer as Baylor came away with the win.

“Credit Baylor. They made the most of their chances,” Swanson said. “We had enough chances there and did enough really good things in the second half to get the next one, but we didn't have enough quality when we needed it. That was the difference.”

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