Ninth-ranked and third-seeded Virginia advanced to the ACC semifinals following a 4-1 win against sixth-seeded Louisville Tuesday night in Cary, N.C. The Cavaliers (8-2-1, 5-2-1 ACC) secured the win over the Cardinals (4-5-0, 4-4-0 ACC) thanks to sophomore forward Diana Ordoñez, who scored the team’s first three goals to record the fifth hat trick in ACC Tournament history and the first since 2004.
“I think we were getting in some really good spots,” Ordoñez said. “I think we were sticking to the game plan and getting the ball where we needed to get it, and I was just fortunate enough to be able to put [the goals] in.”
With the win, Virginia advances to the semifinals to face an undefeated North Carolina team. The two teams faced off in the ACC Championship last season and the Cavaliers suffered their first loss after the Tar Heels converted in the second period of overtime to secure the ACC title.
Virginia jumped on the board first in the 20th minute as Ordoñez buried a shot from close range to give the team a 1-0 advantage. Freshman forward Lia Godfrey sent a ball forward to junior midfielder Alexa Spaanstra, who cleared the Louisville defense for a one-on-one chance against senior goalkeeper Gabby Kouzelos. Kouzelos came off her line to make a diving save against Spaanstra, but was unable to collect as the junior leapt over her and continued to the back of the box. As the ball traveled to the left of the posts, Spaanstra made a last minute pass to Ordoñez on the right side, who finished the play with a chip into the net from point-blank range.
The next Cavalier goal came less than five minutes later as junior forward Rebecca Jarrett used savvy footwork to beat a Louisville defender and open the scoring opportunity. The junior outmaneuvered her opponent to send a pass into the box to an open Godfrey, who knocked down the pass and offered a shot at Kouzelos. The goalie made a diving save but couldn’t collect as Ordoñez picked up the deflection to bury her second goal of the match.
The Cardinals managed to get on the board in the 43rd minute to cut the Virginia lead in half before the break. Senior midfielder Emina Ekic lifted a free kick over the wall and into the left corner of the net to leave the score at 2-1 heading into the half.
In the 57th minute, Ordoñez continued her hot streak and cemented her hat trick with a third goal. Senior defender Lizzy Sieracki sent a long ball from past the midfield mark to Ordoñez as she drove past the Louisville backline to collect the pass. With yet another one-on-one chance against Kouzelos, the sophomore maintained her composure and sent a strike past the diving keeper and into the open net to extend the lead to 3-1.
Spaanstra capped the scoring for the Cavaliers in the 71st minute. Freshman defender Samar Guidry made an impressive run, weaving through the Louisville defense and offering a ball ahead to a sprinting Spaanstra. The junior collected the pass, took a few paces and sent a strike from point-blank range past Kouzelos.
Virginia held its 4-1 lead through the remainder of the match, capturing the win to secure a spot in the semifinals Friday.
“We’re really happy to finish our chances tonight,” Coach Steve Swanson said. “That’s something we haven’t done consistently all year. We have created a lot of chances against teams, but haven’t finished a lot of them. We didn’t know where the space would be [tonight]. Louisville is a very good and organized defensive team. They played a high line, and I thought our players did a good job of getting into that space. It was our most consistent match of the year.”
The Cavaliers will compete against an undefeated North Carolina team in the ACC semifinals. The Tar Heels advanced through the quarterfinals following a 1-0 win against Virginia Tech Tuesday and will look to beat Virginia and capture its second-straight tournament title.
Game time for the semifinal matchup against North Carolina is set for 8 p.m. at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. and will be broadcast on the ACC Network.