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Virginia women’s soccer continues winning streak with a defeat of James Madison

A pair of second-half goals push the Cavaliers over their in-state foe

<p>Junior midfielder Lia Godfrey netted the Cavaliers' second goal of the day, sealing the win for Virginia.</p>

Junior midfielder Lia Godfrey netted the Cavaliers' second goal of the day, sealing the win for Virginia.

The No. 5 Virginia women’s soccer team (5-0-0, 0-0 ACC) defeated James Madison (3-1-1, 0-0 SBC) by a score of 2-0 at Klöckner Stadium Thursday evening.

The match was surprisingly close despite the Cavaliers clearly being the better team. Virginia dominated the time of possession and notched 22 shots in total. The Cavalier defense prevented the Dukes from getting even one shot off and held on for their fourth consecutive shutout.

Virginia was unable to find the back of the net early, but they remained undeterred and continued to take chances. Graduate student Haley Hopkins launched the first shot of the match within the first two minutes and would go on to lead the game in shots, with seven in total. Because of this, it was only right that her second half penalty kick would prove to be the difference-maker for the Cavaliers.

James Madison committed a handball violation on a Virginia cross in the 47th minute, setting up the opportunity and sending Hopkins to the penalty spot, where she calmly buried the ball in the bottom right corner. Hopkins’ goal was the team-leading fifth of the season. It was also the third game in a row that she has scored the opening goal.

James Madison would never come close to scoring, but with just a one goal lead late in the game, junior Lia Godfrey decided to slam the door shut on any chance of an equalizer from the Dukes. On the attack, freshman Maya Carter’s shot was deflected directly to Godfrey, who sent a rocket of a shot right to the upper corner in an 84th-minute goal that brought all of Klöckner Stadium to its feet. This was Carter’s first assist of the season, and Godfrey’s second consecutive match with a goal.

Shortly after, the Cavaliers were awarded a corner kick with around 30 seconds left in the match, which they dribbled into the corner to run out the clock and seal the deal on their fifth straight victory.

This was not necessarily the outcome that most have come to expect from this Virginia team so far this season when faced with an inferior opponent. However, it did not stem from a lack of effort, and fans can be pleased with the Cavaliers’ resilience and relentlessness on a day when the ball just wasn’t going in. Virginia’s ability to close out tight games like these will only grow in importance as they look ahead to tougher competition.

Despite the win, Coach Steve Swanson saw some areas where he thought his team could improve in the future.

“JMU is much improved and we feel good about the result, but the performance is a different story,” Swanson said. “There are a lot of things we can do better and have to do better. We’re going to concentrate on those things and look to improve because we have a good Memphis team coming in on Sunday. We have to be better for that one.”

The Cavaliers will look to continue their winning streak against No. 23 Memphis at home Sept. 4. That match is scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.