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Virginia women’s soccer advances to Elite Eight with 3-0 shutout over Rice

Sophomore forward Diana Ordonez scored a hat trick to send the Cavaliers to their first quarterfinal match since 2015

<p>After advancing to the quarterfinals, the Cavaliers will take on Texas Christian next.</p>

After advancing to the quarterfinals, the Cavaliers will take on Texas Christian next.

After a late 9 p.m. scheduled kickoff time and a thunder and lightning delay, Virginia women’s soccer defeated Rice University at WakeMed Soccer Park just after midnight to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. Sophomore Diana Ordonez was the leader of the Cavaliers (13-4-2, 5-2-1 ACC) offense to secure the 3-0 win over the Owls (14-3-1, 5-1-0 C-USA).

“It was great to get the result, but I thought our performance was great from start to finish,” Coach Steve Swanson said. “For us to win as convincingly as we did — we executed our game plan really well and controlled most of the match. It wasn’t as easy as the score line.”

Virginia started off the match strong and possessed really well especially on its offensive half. Although a lot of time was spent in the offensive half — and in the final third creating opportunities — it wasn’t until the 37th minute that the Cavaliers got on the scoreboard. 

Virginia strung together a set of tight passes in the final third before freshman midfielder Lia Godfrey slipped a ball to Ordonez’s feet. As Ordonez tried to turn to get a shot off, she was knocked over and the foul was called, giving the Cavaliers a penalty kick. Ordonez took the kick confidently and with power to put Virginia up 1-0 going into the half. 

Next in the 68th minute, senior midfielder Taryn Torres took a corner kick that found the head of Ordonez who was running towards the goal. Ordonez redirected the ball off the top post of the goal and into the back of the net to extend the lead.

Finally, in the 82nd minute Torres took another corner kick that found Ordonez’s head, but the ball was redirected wide to the flank. Godfrey picked up the loose ball and drove towards the end line before sending in a beautiful cross. The cross found the head of junior forward Ashlynn Serepca that bounced off the top of the crossbar. Finally, Ordonez got a head on the second ball to finish her hat trick and solidify the win for the Cavaliers. 

Ordonez has been a critical part of the Virginia offense this season. She leads the team offense with 29 points from her 12 goals and five assists — the highest number of goals on the Virginia roster. Notably, this was her second hat trick of the season.

“[Diana Ordonez] was fantastic,” Swanson said. “She’s been close in the other games, but it was good to see her breakthrough. She’s a pure goal scorer, but she did some other things really well for us tonight.”

Although Ordonez got all the glory in the Sweet 16 match, the entirety of the Virginia offense has been finding success in the past few matches. This match was the third consecutive game in which an individual Cavalier player has scored two or more goals — junior forward Alexa Spaanstra scored a brace in the previous two matches. 

“Our whole front line is coming together,” Swanson said. “Rebecca Jarrett played well and even though Alexa [Spaanstra] didn’t get any goals her contributions to our attack are enormous.”

The Cavaliers were able to tally 16 shots, six of them being on target while keeping the Owls limited to just two shots and one on goal. The single save gave senior goalkeeper Laurel Ivory her 51st career win and her 36th career shutout.

Virginia is one of five ACC teams that comprise the remaining eight teams of the tournament. No. 1 Florida State will face off against No. 9 Duke in an ACC Elite Eight matchup, while No. 2 North Carolina and No. 14 Clemson are also competing.

Virginia is set to appear in its seventh quarterfinal appearance under the direction of Swanson 5 p.m. Sunday at WakeMed Soccer Park. Virginia will face No. 4 TCU for the first time, and the game can be streamed on NCAA.com.

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