Coming off of a loss to Clemson, No. 11 Virginia had an opportunity to rebound against in-state rival Virginia Tech at Thompson Field Friday. In the two teams’ earlier meeting this season, the Cavaliers (2-1-1, 0-1-1 ACC) defeated the Hokies (0-4, 0-2 ACC) 3-1. While the second meeting was far more dramatic and close, Virginia swept the series with the 1-0 overtime victory over Virginia Tech.
“Virginia Tech is always organized and they are always good on the counter attack, so we knew we would have a strong challenge tonight,” Coach Steve Swanson said. “I thought we played some very good soccer throughout the match, but our issue for the last several games has been our quality in and around the goal. We are getting chances and creating opportunities in the attacking end, but just cannot convert.”
The match developed some drama before it even started as Virginia redshirt freshman goalie Cayla White drew the start over Laurel Ivory, senior goalie and team captain, for White’s first collegiate start.
The first half was dominated with Virginia possessions as the Cavaliers outshot the Hokies 15-3 in the first 45 minutes. However, when the clock expired for halftime, the score remained 0-0.
The second half was a much different story for Virginia Tech, who nearly matched Virginia in shot attempts with 10 to the Cavaliers’ 9. Each team had numerous chances to break the tie, but both goalies had strong performances in the match. Most notably, White was able to get her fingertips on a shot by Hokie junior midfielder Emily Gray in the 85th minute to maintain the tie and send the game into extra minutes.
It didn’t take long for the Cavaliers to apply the pressure in extra time as junior forward Rebecca Jarrett was able to draw a corner kick just 4 minutes into the extra period. Virginia’s leading scorer, freshman midfielder Lia Godfrey, took the corner kick and delivered a great service on the set piece. Junior defender Claire Constant was able to get a head on the ball and secure the win for the Cavaliers with the first game-winning goal of her career.
“Excellent team effort across the board,” associate head coach Ron Raab said. “A lot of players got some different minutes today and really made some strong contributions across the board in all three lines of our team. So, very pleased with the overall team effort today.”
On the defensive side, White impressed in her first collegiate start. The young goalkeeper from Arlington, Va. was able to pitch a shutout.
“For her first game between the goals, to get a shutout [is] fantastic,” Raab said.
Raab also mentioned her key saves down the stretch, especially in the second half.
“She played very confidently, made some good decisions and a couple of really important saves, particularly in the second half,” Raab said. “It was great to see her get some experience under her belt.”
Although Virginia Tech is an ACC team, Friday’s match was designated a non-conference game prior to the season and will not count toward ACC standings.
The Cavaliers wrapped up a three game road trip with a 1-1-1 record and will look to build upon the victory Thursday as they welcome Pittsburgh to Charlottesville for a 7 p.m. match at Klockner Stadium. The game will be televised on the ACC Network.
“We are happy to come out of there with a win and look forward to getting back home next week,” Swanson said.