About eight minutes into last night's rain-drenched women's soccer game, John Fogerty, courtesy of the Klöckner Stadium P.A., wondered aloud "who'll stop the rain?" Maryland could not do anything about the weather and sure couldn't do much about the Cavaliers either.
Angela Hucles led the way with her third career hat trick, but she had plenty of help as No. 8 Virginia captured its sixth straight win with a 5-0 bludgeoning of the Terrapins.
Hucles pumped in her three goals in the first 27 minutes as the Cavs (7-2-0, 3-0-0 ACC) took a 4-0 halftime lead. That scoring barrage came just in time. As the downpour intensified in the second half, the action on the field stopped looking like soccer.
"If a team hadn't scored in the first half, I don't think there would have been a goal," Virginia coach April Heinrichs said.
Virginia got going before the pitch got too mucky. Hucles slithered past the Terp defense in the ninth minute and finished off a Katie Tracy cross. Then came the hard part: the celebration. Hucles and Tracy executed a pair of flawless swan dive slides, unlike their ill-fated attempt Friday night against Stanford, when they couldn't coordinate who was sliding when.
"We got a lot of criticism during film work this week, so this time we made eye contact," Tracy deadpanned. "I think it was a good celebration this time."
The fun was just beginning. Seven minutes later, Jill Maxwell worked her way down the Maryland endline and crossed to Hucles, who redirected it past Terp keeper Ali Wolff. Hucles got her third goal in the 27th minute, running down a Kelly Worden long ball and easily toasting Wolff.
Rookie Aly Benitez notched her first career score in the 34th minute to give the Cavaliers a four-goal lead. Forward Darci Borski somehow distracted the entire Terp defense before threading a pass to the wide-open first year.
Just in case the Terps (3-6-1, 1-1-1) got revved up in the locker room for a big second-half comeback, Maxwell put the fifth Virginia goal up in the 57th minute with a header off Meredith Rhodes' corner kick.
The final minutes were an opportunity for Heinrichs to get her starters out and for the Cavalier reserves to get themselves as wet as their teammates. Everyone played for Virginia, and six players made their 1999 debut, including second-year Linda Allen, who walked on only two weeks ago.
As the final horn sounded, the Cav starters led the charge onto the field. They took a minute or two to turn the pitch into one big Slip-n-Slide.
"A 5-0 win against Maryland is something to celebrate," Tracy said. "That doesn't come around too often. I'd have to say I'm a big fan of sliding in the water."