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No. 2 women’s soccer moves to 3-0 in ACC play after recent wins

The Cavaliers extended their record to 10-1 after playing Wake Forest, No. 4 Duke and NC State

<p>Fifth year goalkeeper Laurel Ivory has only allowed seven goals all season and just one in the last three matches.</p>

Fifth year goalkeeper Laurel Ivory has only allowed seven goals all season and just one in the last three matches.

After a 7-1 start in non-conference play, Virginia began ACC play with multiple conference matchups. In the first, a showdown against Wake Forest Sept. 17, the Cavaliers (10-1, 3-0 ACC) made enough plays to hand the Demon Deacons (10-1, 2-1 ACC) their first loss. Virginia then returned to Charlottesville for a highly anticipated matchup against Duke Sept. 23, which it won 1-0 — humbling the Blue Devils (7-1-1, 1-1-1 ACC) who had just beat North Carolina for the first time since 2015. Finally, the Cavaliers took the road again on Sept. 26 for an away match at NC State, which they won 2-1 after scoring a 90th minute breaker against the Wolfpack (4-5-2, 0-3-0 ACC).

Virginia 1, Wake Forest 0

From start to finish, Virginia and Wake Forest were locked in a defensive battle. Over two halves, the two teams combined for just seven shots on goal out of 26 total shots.

With a lack of scoring opportunities for both teams, converting on whatever chances available was imperative. The Cavaliers did just that around 19 minutes into the match. Sophomore midfielder Lia Godfrey led a beautiful through ball into the box to the foot of junior forward Diana Ordoñez, who took her time and finished the opportunity to put the Cavaliers up 1-0 early.

The Ordoñez strike would prove to be the difference maker, as Wake Forest could never really get it going on offense.

Virginia 1, Duke 0

The match against the Blue Devils proved to be exciting as it went back and forth throughout the first half, with each team maintaining a pretty even level of possession. Duke recorded three shots in the first half compared to Virginia’s four, however, all of the Cavaliers’ shots were on frame — requiring a save —  while the Blue Devils did not shoot any on frame.

The best attempt at scoring in the first half came with 13 minutes left to play. Senior forward Alexa Spaanstra drove up the left side of the field and cut to beat her defender. She struck a great shot just inside the 18-yard box, but unlucky for her the ball deflected off of the goal post.

In the second half, Virginia got on the score sheet. About 12 minutes into the second half, sophomore midfielder Alexis Theoret took a free kick in the Cavaliers offensive half. Theoret’s ball was placed nicely into the box where it was deflected off the head of graduate forward Haley Hopkins to find Ordoñez at the back post. Ordoñez — the team leader in goals and offensive points — calmly slipped the ball into the back of the net for her ninth goal of the season. 

This goal was the only one seen in the match between two tough competitors.

“It was a great team win tonight,” Coach Steve Swanson said. “To get three points in a game like this at home was huge for us. Duke is a very good team. They are difficult to play against and difficult to score against.”

Virginia 2, NC State 1

Less than 10 minutes into the game against NC State, graduate midfielder Sydney Zandi put Virginia on the scoreboard with her first goal of the season. Zandi settled the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and cut left before hitting a shot that was deflected by a Wolfpack defender into the back of the net.

Not too much later, NC State responded with an equalizer goal in the 40th minute. Wolfpack senior forward Danae Antoine scored a beautiful goal in the upper right corner, which was notably her first goal of the season and first career ACC goal. 

The match remained scoreless for most of its remaining minutes, level with each team recording six shots in the second half. In the end, however, it was Virginia that displayed grit to find the back of the net and score the game-winner. 

In the 90th minute of play, the Cavaliers set up to take their fifth corner kick of the match. Theoret sent in a ball right to Ordoñez’s head to which she headed the ball to the top post. The ball bounced downward and junior defender Talia Staude got the final touch to head the ball into the goal. 

“We knew it was going to be a difficult game and it was,” Swanson said. “I thought we played very well in the first half, and I credit their goalkeeper for making some really great saves. In the second half we lost our way a bit but had enough to pull out the win.”

Virginia’s next match is scheduled for Sunday against North Carolina in Chapel Hill. These teams have a deep rivalry and history, so the Cavaliers will undoubtedly come out hungry and eager to keep their undefeated rank in ACC play. Kickoff for the match is scheduled for 1 p.m. and the match will be broadcast on ACCN.