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No. 2 women’s soccer defeats Milwaukee 2-0, advances in NCAA Tournament

The physical battle favored the Cavaliers, despite a hard fight from the Panthers

<p>Spaanstra recorded her 29th career assist tonight against the Panthers.</p>

Spaanstra recorded her 29th career assist tonight against the Panthers.

Virginia took the field at Klöckner Stadium Thursday night in a second-round matchup with Milwaukee after defeating High Point last week. Both teams made it clear very early in the match that we would be in for an exciting 90 minutes, but the Cavaliers (18-2-2, 8-0-2 ACC) ultimately came out on top against the Panthers (19-2-0, 11-0 Horizon League) — winning by two goals and effectively eliminating Milwaukee from the NCAA Tournament.

Within the first two minutes, Virginia had registered two shots – both of which narrowly missed the top of the goal. A variety of Cavalier players continued to get touches as the action went back-and-forth endlessly.

Although Virginia was playing great offense, the Panthers’ defense was on top of their game. The Cavaliers were presented with multiple scoring opportunities as a result of corner kicks and fouls, but none ended up in the back of the net thanks to Milwaukee’s stout defense.

At the 26-mark, Virginia finally broke through. Sophomore defender Samantha Guidry kicked the ball in the direction of junior forward Diana Ordoñez, who was in the right place at the right time. She hit a header that went just under the crossbar to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead.

With just about three minutes left in the period, fans in the stands would begin a short-lived “Let’s Go Wahoos” chant. With the Cavalier faithful cheering it on, Virginia would take its 1-0 lead into the half.

It took 51 seconds for the Cavaliers to register their first shot of the second period. Senior forward Alexa Spaanstra, who was quick on her feet all night, took a shot towards the bottom center of the net that was saved by Panthers junior goalkeeper Elaina LaMacchia.

A few seconds later, sophomore midfielder Lia Godfrey registered yet another shot for the Cavaliers that ended up being blocked. Frustrated by Virginia’s drive, Milwaukee junior midfielder Taylor Hattori received a yellow card.

The two teams continued to exchange possession. At the 61st minute, the Panthers finally clocked their first shot of the game — one that was saved by fifth-year goalkeeper Laurel Ivory. Right before this, Virginia fifth-year midfielder Sydney Zandi received a yellow card of her own.

The Cavaliers scored their second and final goal of the game in the 83rd minute of play. Again, it was Ordoñez. She was assisted by Spaanstra, who slipped it through a bevy of defenders. This continued a pattern we saw all night — one where Spaanstra ran circles around the Panthers defense.

“If we could move the ball quick enough … where [Spaanstra] is isolated, we felt we had an advantage — certainly on that last one we did,” Coach Steve Swanson said.

Additionally, this goal was Ordoñez’s 18th of the season and her third of the NCAA Tournament. She has been pivotal to Virginia’s success all year and will continue to be integral to the remainder of the team’s tournament run.

As the match came to a close, Cavalier fans erupted in the stands as they saw their team advance to the third round of the tournament. With a quick turnaround before the next game, Virginia is laser-focused on recovering.

“That one-day turnaround … it’s not easy,” Ordoñez said. “Immediately just trying to recover … and just trying to make sure we’re doing everything we can so that we’re fresh because that’s going to be another hard game.”

The Cavaliers will take the pitch in less than 48 hours against fourth-seeded, No.13-ranked BYU at Klöckner Stadium. The match will begin Saturday night at 7 p.m. and broadcast details are to be determined.

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