No. 5 Virginia women’s soccer entered Sunday night’s contest against George Mason coming off their first draw of the season against Michigan. The Cavaliers (3-0-1, 0-0 ACC) had been unable to score in Thursday night’s game and were looking to get their offensive performance back on track. Meanwhile, the Patriots (0-4, 0-0 Atlantic 10) were simply looking to get their first goal of the season. Unfortunately for George Mason, that did not happen Sunday night as Virginia came away with a 4-0 victory on the road.
It did not take long for the Cavaliers to end their scoring drought. In the sixth minute, as freshman midfielder Yuna McCormack was running down the left side of the field, she found sophomore forward Maggie Cagle in the box. Cagle sent the ball into the back of the net, giving Virginia the early lead.
In the 27th minute, McCormack found herself again with the ball on the right side of the field. She passed the ball, this time, to graduate student defender Talia Staude who headed the ball into the upper corner of the back post to give the Cavaliers a 2-0 advantage. With two assists, McCormack picked up her first multi-assist game of her collegiate career.
Freshman goalkeeper and top goalkeeping recruit Victoria Safradin started in her first collegiate game and performed admirably despite seeing little action. She extended the Cavaliers’ shutout streak and picked up a save on the Patriots’ only shot attempt.
Entering the second half, Virginia looked to put the game away, continuing their offensive surge. In the 58th minute, two perfectly placed headers positioned Cagle with a prime scoring opportunity. She swiftly stopped her momentum, leaving the defender off-balanced, and sent the ball past a diving goalkeeper to extend the Cavalier lead. Through just four games, Cagle already has two braces.
With just over two minutes remaining, Virginia could have played conservatively and stayed content with their 3-0 advantage, but freshman forward Allie Ross had other plans. Senior forward Sarah Brunner served an arching pass that was perfectly placed for Ross to head the ball into the back of the goal.
“We are happy to get the result today on the road,” Coach Steve Swanson said. “I thought we did some good things on the attacking end and finished some nice goals. We still have improvement that we must make on both sides of the ball, but we are progressing as a team and that is most important at this stage in the season.”
With this win, the Cavaliers have won 12 straight matchups against George Mason. Virginia’s roster is contributing from top to bottom as eight players have contributed to the 14 goals scored this season. Looking ahead, Virginia will need to maintain its offensive surge against higher competition levels. The Cavaliers’ defense has also been impressive with Sunday night’s performance being the third time in four games that Virginia has held their opponent to two shots or less. Steadier offensive output paired with the potent backline will spell success for the Cavaliers moving forward.
Virginia will return home on Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. against West Virginia. You can catch the game on ACCNX.