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No. 1 seed women’s soccer ends its season with a heartbreaking loss to No. 4 seed BYU

The Cavaliers lost 1-0 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament

<p>This was Ivory's 100th career start in her time at Virginia.</p>

This was Ivory's 100th career start in her time at Virginia.

In Virginia’s biggest test of the NCAA Tournament thus far, it faced fourth-seeded, No. 13-ranked BYU. The Cavaliers (18-3-2, 8-0-2 ACC) fought until the end, but they ultimately failed to capitalize on multiple scoring opportunities and lost the match to the Cougars (16-4-1, 8-1 WCC), who took a 1-0 lead early in the second period.

Despite the fact that Virginia lost, it had some early momentum — it took only 17 seconds for the Cavaliers to register their first shot. Sophomore midfielder Lia Godfrey kicked the ball to the bottom center of the net, but it was quickly saved by Brigham Young senior goalkeeper Cassidy Smith.

In the first 13 minutes, fifth-year forward Haley Hopkins was extremely active for Virginia, as she would be throughout the night. Hopkins registered two shots during those first 13 minutes — one of which was saved by Smith — and always seemed to be taking initiative to move the ball into Cavalier territory. She fooled Virginia fans with her third shot of the period at the 22-minute mark as it appeared to be a goal, but barely missed the right side of the net.

Throughout the remainder of the first period, both teams would fight for the ball — the Cavaliers narrowly edging Brigham Young and taking 56 percent of the possession. Virginia would also own the total number of shots and the number of corners, as the Cavaliers took nine shots and had three corners versus the Cougars’ six shots and two corners.

Besides Hopkins’ missed shot at the 22-minute mark, Virginia’s biggest scoring opportunity came at the 35-minute mark as Godfrey sent one into the bottom center of the net — mirroring the first shot of the game. Again, this was saved by Smith before it could go in and add to the Cavaliers’ tally. 

Both teams would continue to take shots, but none would get past Smith or Virginia fifth-year goalkeeper Laurel Ivory. Coming into the half, Virginia and Brigham Young had yet to score on one another.

Brigham Young took possession after the halftime break concluded and quickly made the most of a newfound fire — scoring its first goal as the ball sailed just past Ivory’s extended arms.

Down by one, Virginia had a few chances to generate some action after the Cougars got on the board. The Cavaliers were awarded three consecutive corner kicks but couldn’t make anything of them. Shortly after, Hopkins took the ball down and registered another shot — one that would go a little too wide and a little too high to make it in.

The rest of the game was a back-and-forth battle between the two seeded teams. As the clock ran down to zero, Brigham Young celebrated its win on the field in front of a decent amount of its fans who traveled to the match. Virginia, however, was left crushed. 

“I’m incredibly proud of the team and the season we had,” Coach Steve Swanson said. “It’s hard now because the reality is our season is over and that’s sad because we won’t be together for a little bit. It’s always a tough thing when that ends.”

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