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Cav women upset Gators,

So you're the Virginia women's soccer coach and your upcoming weekend slate features No. 2 Florida and unranked George Mason. Which game are you more worried about? The easy pick is the unbeaten, defending national champion Gators, but not if the coach in question is April Heinrichs.

Heinrichs knew her Cavaliers had the talent to stay with Florida, and she was equally certain they would come out fired up. The Patriots, however, were just the sort of unranked speed bump that had slowed the Cavs all season.

She was right. No. 12 Virginia put together one of its best games of the season to derail the Florida juggernaut, 2-1, in overtime at Klöckner Stadium Friday night. And Virginia had to put together a huge comeback to survive Mason's upset bid and pull out their 3-2 win in Fairfax yesterday.

Anyone expecting the Cavs (9-4-0, 3-1-0 ACC) to take the field in awe of the Gators (12-1-0) hadn't checked the Virginia schedule, which boasts 10 Top 25 opponents and stands as one of the toughest slates in the country.

The Cavaliers got on the board in the 17th minute with Angela Hucles' breakaway goal, but Andi Sellers, one quarter of Florida's All-American foursome, tied the game in the 60th minute.

Eight minutes into overtime, Virginia midfielder Lori Lindsey banked in the winning goal off the left post.

"A defender just poked it out and I just shot it," Lindsey said. "If it weren't for Angie and Jill [Maxwell, who assisted on the goal], I never would have gotten the ball."

In the midst of the celebration that engulfed the Cavs and the home crowd of 1,289 - the third largest in the program's history - no one was relieved more than Lindsey. In the 54th minute, Gator keeper Jordan Kellgren stoned her on a penalty kick that would have given Virginia a daunting 2-0 lead.

"I was definitely disappointed" after the attempt, Lindsey admitted. "But I couldn't dwell on that, because I would've been hurting the team."

The upset victory proved to the Cavaliers that they deserve to stand with the best in college soccer.

"The best thing about it is we know now we can be national champions," co-captain Carryn Weigand said. "Beating a team of that caliber, we can beat anyone."

A win over Florida will do wonders for any team's spirits. The Gators had won their last 26 games and had not been scored upon for 556 minutes before Hucles' goal.

Yet that newfound confidence did not help early in yesterday's game. The Cavs came out flat and paid dearly for it, as Mason wunderkind sophomore Katy Robertson, the nation's third-leading scorer, put the Patriots (6-6-0) up by two less than 20 minutes into the game.

The Cavaliers pulled within one in the 20th minute, when Hucles put home the rebound of her own penalty kick, and caught a huge break two minutes later, when referee John Diguardo waved off a Mason goal with a highly questionable offsides call.

As the second half got into full swing, Virginia finally got its offense in gear, despite the decidedly soggy pitch. Ten minutes in, Maxwell headed in a corner kick for the tying goal, and Tracey Lache finished off the Pats in the 83rd minute with her first score of the season.

"We weren't about to beat Florida, who's No. 2 in the nation, and then come back and lose to George Mason," Weigand said.

"We're stepping through the threshold of being a great team," Heinrichs said. "Great teams find ways to win no matter the conditions, no matter the opponent. I think a year ago, we wouldn't have won this game."


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