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Women’s soccer cruises past UC Irvine and Liberty in weekend matches

Virginia displays offensive talent in a pair of shutout wins at home

<p>Sophomore forward Alexa Spaanstra led Virginia in points last year as a freshman, with 24.</p>

Sophomore forward Alexa Spaanstra led Virginia in points last year as a freshman, with 24.

Virginia (2-0, 0-0 ACC) defeated UC Irvine (0-2, 0-0 Big West) and Liberty (0-2, 0-0 ASUN) at home this weekend in shutout performances. The Cavaliers found success offensively, scoring a combined 13 goals in the matches. Freshman forward Diana Ordonez leads the team with four goals and scored a hat trick against Liberty, while sophomore forward Alexa Spaanstra contributed five assists between the two matches. 

Game 1: Virginia 7, UC Irvine 0

Virginia set the tone for the upcoming season with a win in their season opener against UC Irvine Friday night. Several freshmen took the field for the first time after the Cavaliers scored three quick goals to start the first half against the Anteaters . 

The Cavaliers dominated offensively, maintaining possession for the majority of the match and repeatedly testing UC Irvine senior goalkeeper Maddie Newsom. Six players recorded goals on the night, including sophomore defender Claire Constant and freshman forward Diana Ordonez, who scored the first goal of their careers. 

"We did a good job in transition, especially defensively, to deny them opportunities, but it was our decisions in the attack that really made the difference,” Coach Steve Swanson said. “We did a good job of finding the spaces within their shape even as they changed formations, which was good to see. Also, our conversion rate in terms of our finishing was good. Again, it is early and we are still very much a team in progress."

Spaanstra led the team with the first goal of the season. Intercepting the ball at midfield, Spaanstra charged down the field to score in the 11th minute and put Virginia on the board. Within two minutes, sophomore forward Rebecca Jarrett extended the lead to 2-0 with a one-touch shot over the goalkeeper. 

In the 22nd minute, junior midfielder Anna Sumpter and Ordonez found senior forward Meghan McCool in the box. McCool headed the ball in off a one-touch cross by Sumpter and the Cavaliers took the 3-0 lead into the half. 

In the second half, Sumpter scored in the 60th minute. Spaanstra assisted as Sumpter received the ball and avoided a challenge by the UC Irvine keeper to make it a 4-0 game.

Sophomore defender Claire Constant scored her first career goal in the 75th minute. Senior defender Courtney Petersen took the kick after a foul on UC Irvine and sent the ball towards Sumpter in the box. Constant found room, received a pass by Sumpter and sent the ball into the net. 

The Cavaliers scored two more times in the 83rd and 87th minutes. Ordonez posted her first career goal on a breakaway, racing downfield and striking the ball past the keeper. Constant capped the win with a final goal, sending a header into the net after a free kick from Ordonez was blocked but not secured by UC Irvine’s goalkeeper. 

Junior goalkeeper Laurel Ivory and sophomore goalkeeper Michaela Moran each played in the net to produce the shutout for Virginia. 

Game 2: Virginia 6, Liberty 0

Virginia defeated Liberty 6-0 Sunday afternoon at Klockner Stadium. Both Spaanstra and Ordonez had standout performances in the match. Spaanstra provided four assists while Ordonez produced the first hat trick for the Cavaliers since the 2017 season.  

Virginia scored first in the 11th minute with a goal by Ordonez. Spaanstra drove down the left side and struck a pass to the freshman forward, who quickly put the ball into the back of the net.

The Cavaliers accelerated the drive in the second half and scored five more goals. In the 66th minute, Spaanstra found Ordonez for a second time. Spaanstra chased down the ball and cut it back into the box at the last second, meeting the left foot of Ordonez for a one-touch shot past Liberty’s goalkeeper. 

In the 70th and 73rd minutes, Spaanstra worked a third and fourth assist, connecting with sophomore forward Ashlynn Serepca and senior forward Meghan McCool. Spaanstra’s four assists in the match are the most recorded by a Cavalier since Morgan Brian’s five-assist game against High Point in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. 

After being fouled in the box, freshman forward Cam Lexow scored her first career goal in a penalty kick in the 79th minute to extend the lead to 5-0. 

In the 84th minute, Ordonez completed her hat trick with an assist by junior midfielder Anna Sumpter. Ordonez did a slide-kick around a defender to send the ball just out of reach of Liberty’s keeper. 

Virginia will play East Carolina Friday Aug. 30 as part of a double-header with the men’s team before facing West Virginia Sunday Sept. 1, with both games occuring at Klockner Stadium.