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No. 3 women’s soccer sweeps late week slate versus George Mason and George Washington

A combination of a potent offense and a patient defense extends the Cavalier win streak to four games

<p>The Cavaliers dominated the Patriots and Colonial on all sides of the ball, combining for eight goals scored and just one goal allowed across the two matches.&nbsp;</p>

The Cavaliers dominated the Patriots and Colonial on all sides of the ball, combining for eight goals scored and just one goal allowed across the two matches. 

At George Mason, Aug. 26

In its third game of the young season, No. 3 Virginia dismantled George Mason Thursday to secure a 2-0 win and remain undefeated. The Cavaliers (4-0-0, 0-0-0 ACC) dominated every facet of their matchup against the reeling Patriots (0-3-0, 0-0-0 A-10), to extend their losing streak to three games. 

Virginia came out of the gates hot, dominating George Mason on both sides of the ball. In the first half alone, the Cavalier offense produced 12 shots in comparison to one for the Patriots. However, George Mason senior goalkeeper Louisa Moser was up to the task of neutralizing the torrid Virginia offense, saving all four of the Cavaliers’ first half shots on goal to ensure a 0-0 tie heading into halftime. 

The Cavaliers’ rapid pace on offense continued into the second half. After failing to convert several golden opportunities early, Coach Steve Swanson’s squad found their footing and began to dismantle George Mason’s defense.

With 37:47 left in the second half, graduate midfielder Taryn Torres began a Virginia fast break on what looked to be the team’s best opportunity of the second half. The midfielder pressed through the Patriot midfield, darting a perfect through pass to senior forward Rebecca Jarrett down the right side of the field. Jarrett beat her outside defender and found the trailing Torres, who was left wide open at the top of the box. With the threat of Jarrett’s cross into the box, which has been so effective for Virginia’s offense all season, George Mason held eight defenders in the box, allowing Torres ample time to set her feet and fire a laser to the top left corner of goal. 

Virginia did not waste any time getting back on the board. Just under 10 minutes after Torres opened the scoring, the Cavaliers offense was right back on the attack. Sophomore defender Samar Guidry found senior forward Alexa Spaanstra on the left side of the field. Spaanstra took the feed and immediately darted across the field, weaving through a lost George Mason defense. The senior got to her spot just outside the top of the box and fired a shot to the top right corner of goal, leaving Moser unable to do anything.

With a 2-0 lead secured midway through the second half, the Cavaliers switched their attention to the defensive side of the ball to preserve the shutout. After the Virginia offense executed perfectly, the defense did the same, stifling the Patriots offense for the entire second half. George Mason managed to produce one shot on goal, which sophomore goalie Cayla White handled with ease. 

This win marked the Cavaliers’ 10th straight win against the in-state Patriots, a team that has struggled to restore the golden age of the mid-1980s, where they appeared in two national championship games against North Carolina and won the 1985 title. 

Vs. George Washington, Aug. 29

After taking down George Mason, Virginia turned its attention to another Atlantic 10 opponent — George Washington. The Cavaliers (4-0-0, 0-0-0 ACC) dominated the Colonials (0-2-2, 0-0-0 A-10) to the tune of a 6-1 drubbing that extended Virginia's win streak to four games. 

The Cavaliers picked up right where they left off with George Mason, as the offense continued their scorching start to the season. After a first half against the Patriots that saw many goal-scoring opportunities go unconverted, Virginia made no mistake finishing its chances a second time around. Just 4:26 into the game, Spaanstra scored her seventh goal of the season.

Sophomore midfielder Lia Godfrey bolted down the field, feeding graduate attack Haley Hopkins with a golden opportunity in front of goal. Junior goalie Tamachi Machi stuffed Hopkins at point blank, but Spaanstra was there for the cleanup.

The offense continued to press, forcing Machi into a turnover on a goalie throw. Jarrett took control of possession and played a quick one-two game down the field with Hopkins to give Jarrett an easy look at goal, which she converted.

Just over two minutes after the Jarrett strike, the Cavaliers gave themselves yet another opportunity with a corner kick. Torres conservatively passed the ball in, which eventually found its way to Godfrey. The sophomore placed a beautiful ball behind a clueless Colonials defense, finding senior defender Claire Constant in front of goal for an easy header.

Virginia dominated the first half from start to finish, registering 19 shots, 10 of which were on goal, while George Washington did not manage a single shot.

Hoping to halt the Cavaliers’ first half momentum, the George Washington offense needed to get something going. Senior midfielder Maria Pareja was right on cue, beating graduate goalie Laurel Ivory to open the scoring in the second half. After conceding its first goal of the season, Virginia did not appear to be rattled. Jarrett netted the response just 49 seconds later, and the Cavaliers would not give the Colonials another shot for the rest of the game. Hopkins and junior forward Cam Lexow would score the final two goals to give Virginia an impressive 6-1 win. 

Virginia is off to an excellent start in non-conference play, allowing only a single goal and scoring 17 goals in four games. However, the road for the Cavaliers does not get much easier, as they have a date with defending national champion Santa Clara next. For a team that has national championship aspirations, these early season matchups will be crucial going forward.

Virginia will face off against Santa Clara on Sept. 2 at 8 p.m. in Harrisonburg, Va. Telecast information is to be determined.

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