RALEIGH, N.C. -- In the preseason, coach April Heinrichs anointed her Cavalier women's soccer team the best in the impressive history of the program. A pair of surprising early season losses did little to further that notion, but this weekend Virginia showed their ACC neighbors to the south exactly why they deserve that lofty billing.
The No. 25 Cavs opened their Conference schedule in style, knocking off No. 9 Duke, 4-3, Saturday and dominating unranked N.C. State, 3-1, yesterday in Raleigh.
The Cavaliers (4-2-0, 2-0-0 ACC) had to hang on against a fierce Blue Devil comeback to win in Durham, but they gave the Wolfpack (3-3-1, 0-1-1) a beating that should merit an S.P.C.A. investigation. Only the clutch-and-grab techniques of the 'Pack defense and the superlative play of senior keeper Jessica Glazer kept the final score respectable.
About 85 of the 90 minutes were played right in front of Glazer, as Virginia more than quintupled N.C. State's shot attempts, 26-5, and earned 13 corner kicks -- while the Wolfpack took until the closing minutes to grab its first and only corner.
"Statistics aren't always useful in the game of soccer, but we out-shot them and we had more corner kicks," Heinrichs said. "The only thing we didn't do was out-foul them and they were a bit villainous in that regard."
N.C. State, whose style was described by 'Pack coach Laura Kerrigan as "not getting pushed around," doubled the Cavaliers in fouls, 16-8, and 'Pack forward Shannon Tully received the game's only yellow card. But the World Wrestling Federation-style atmosphere could not entirely stop the Virginia offense.
The Wolfpack cashed in their only scoring chance of the first 40 minutes when freshman Laura Scott's blooper found the back of the net in the 29th minute. But the Cavs, who had been poking and prodding the N.C. State defense since the proverbial opening bell, didn't wait long to answer. Three minutes later, second-year center mid Lori Lindsey trotted across the face of the goal and kissed a one-hop rocket off the left post to tie the game.
"I think we learned our lesson with [the 2-1 loss to James] Madison, that we can't sit back and let them get in the game against us," said fifth-year defender Carryn Weigand, who notched the game winner less than a minute into the second half. "That wasn't good enough when Lori scored. We knew we had a job to finish."
Weigand's goal, a tough header off Darci Borski's corner kick, put Virginia ahead for good. Heinrichs called the kick the "backbreaker" for the 'Pack, and Lindsey's midfield partner, Katie Tracy, sealed the Cavs' victory in the 84th minute with another corner kick header.
"We definitely had some chances to put them away 3-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game, but she came up big for them," Weigand said of Glazer, who made seven saves Saturday to preserve a scoreless tie with Maryland.
Duke keeper Isis Dallis did not fare so well. Fifth-year forward Jill Maxwell knocked her from the game with a goal in the 61st minute that held up as the game-winner, despite two late scores from the Devils (5-3-0, 0-2-0).
"We made mistakes and they capitalized on our mistakes, but we outplayed Duke," Heinrichs said. "I've coached against Duke for years and there's been many years when Duke was a better team, but not anymore. I think the better team won Saturday"