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Women's soccer wins home opener

We know Angela Hucles. But who are these other folks?

Hucles extended her Virginia scoring record and rookies Kelly Worden and Meredith Rhodes tallied their first career goals as the No. 13 Cavaliers bounced back from Friday's loss at James Madison by taking their 10th straight home opener with a 3-0 shelling of Fresno State yesterday at Klöckner Stadium.

JMU forged a late comeback to upset Virginia 2-1, but yesterday the Cavs (2-2) kept the pressure on for the full 90 minutes -- Rhodes' backbreaking final goal came in the 86th minute.

"At halftime, I had no corrections," Cavalier coach April Heinrichs said. "Just positive feedback about how we were playing decisively. Our ability to change the field, switch the ball from one side to the next was magnificent."

Heinrichs kept the Virginia attack fresh with wholesale substitutions up top midway through each half, enabling the Cavs to pepper Bulldog senior keeper Jennifer Johnstone with 14 shots from 10 different players.

Hucles got the Cavaliers on the board in the 11th minute, poking home her 49th career goal. Ten minutes later, Worden corralled a loose ball in the box and blasted a shot inside the right post to boost the lead to 2-0.

With less than five minutes left, Rhodes sealed the victory with a header that finished off a wild goalmouth scramble. Hucles squibbed a ball Darci Borski crossed, then Rhodes bounced a shot off the bottom of the crossbar finishing the rebound.

"Darci and Ange did all the work," Rhodes said. "Darci made a great run down the side and played a great ball back and I was just there to clean it up."

Working against a four-back defense, Fresno State (3-3) could not muster anything resembling a serious offensive push. Virginia mostly used a 3-4-3 alignment last season, but Heinrichs has decided to use a 4-4-2 this year. That switch gave the Cavalier defense a few new wrinkles to master, but they are starting to gain more confidence in the new system.

Before the game "they still had questions and uncertainties about how to play in a four-back," Heinrichs said. "The more decisive we can be out of it, the better off we'll be."

That confidence and decisiveness also led to a 12-4 foul differential. The Cavs played tougher than the Bulldogs, out-fouling them 9-0 in the second half.

"Last year, just about every team we played out-fouled us because we were a very nice, pleasant, friendly team," Heinrichs said. "In a way, it's nice when we out-foul our opponents because it translates into aggression and then into wins."

Virginia did not have that consistent aggression Friday night in Harrisonburg. Borski's corner kick opened the scoring in the 13th minute, but JMU junior Beth Burgess, Cav midfielder Katie Tracy's best friend and high school teammate, came off the bench to score the first two goals of her career for a 2-1 Dukes win.

"There was a moment in the second half when the game got a little bit out of our control and James Madison scored [to tie it] at that minute," Heinrichs said. "And then all of the sudden they're back in the game and it's craziness"


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