The No. 7 Virginia women’s soccer team made a strong statement this weekend by dominating both of its opponents to close out its non-conference schedule on an impressive roll. The team shut out George Mason 3-0 Friday before downing James Madison 4-1 Sunday.
Virginia (7-1-0) has now won seven consecutive games —its longest winning streak since 2004 — in impressive fashion, allowing only two total goals while controlling play on both ends of the field throughout the streak.
“I thought it was a great result,” sophomore midfielder Danielle Colaprico said. “We’re really bringing it together after the first [3-1 loss against Penn State]. We have great chemistry and I think it’s going help us in the long run.”
The team led wire-to-wire Friday night, pressuring an overmatched George Mason (4-4-0) team from the very start. Junior defender Molly Menchel got the Cavaliers on the board in the 18th minute, taking a cross from freshman star forward Makenzy Doniak in the box to give Virginia a 1-0 advantage. Menchel was not done as she added a second goal just three minutes later by launching a shot from more than 20 yards out for her third goal of the season.
Sophomore forward Kaili Torres got in on the action in the 30th minute, firing a shot from inside the box to give the team a 3-0 halftime lead. Using their sizable advantage to give much-needed experience to some of their younger players, the Cavaliers rotated in 11 different players from the bench and continued to control play, taking 16 shots in the half despite failing to find the net.
“I think they come in and stick right in there, and work well with us, even though they’re coming off the bench,” Colaprico said of the substitutes. Sunday’s match proved to be more challenging as James Madison (2-4-0) pressured Virginia for possession throughout the game. The lone goal of the first half came from Colaprico, who took a pass from senior midfielder Julia Roberts and hit the upper corner from 20 yards out for her third goal of the season.
The Dukes threatened to even the score on several occasions as they produced multiple counter-attack opportunities the rest of the first half.
“We figured that we really needed to get stuck into our tackles and work harder to get the ball and keep the ball,” Colaprico said of the team’s adjustment at halftime. “When we keep the ball, we’re unstoppable, and they’re chasing after us and they can’t keep up with us.”
Finally, with James Madison continuing to apply pressure into the second half, senior midfielder Katie Menzie found the equalizer five minutes into the period to tie the game at 1-1 and put the Cavaliers’ win streak in jeopardy.
In the 66th minute, however, Doniak put the Cavaliers back on top by nailing a penalty shot and opening the floodgates for the Virginia offense.
Junior forward Gloria Douglas took a through ball from Colaprico inside the box and slotted it home in the 79th minute. Just four minutes later, junior midfielder Kate Norbo headed in a corner kick from junior forward Amber Fry to seal the blowout victory.
“James Madison gave us a battle, and we expected that; and certainly in the second half it got interesting when they tied things up,” assistant coach Ron Raab said. “But I think our kids responded quite well, and raised their level, and obviously finished a couple of good chances in the second half, and came away with the win.”
The team will next put its seven-game winning streak on the line when it hosts N.C. State Thursday night to open ACC play.