Following its first ACC victory in the Commonwealth Clash against Virginia Tech Sunday, Virginia women’s soccer secured another victory Thursday night against Miami in Klöckner Stadium. While the Hurricanes (3-8-4, 2-5-1 ACC) were able to hold a strong defensive front against the Cavaliers (7-3-5, 2-3-3-ACC) for most of the game, Virginia struck late to grab a 1-0 victory.
From the start, the Cavaliers were in control, putting up three shots in the first 20 minutes while preventing Miami from shooting at all. Sophomore forward Meredith McDermott had a great look on a breakaway in the fifth minute, but her shot missed just to the left despite beating the Hurricanes’ graduate student keeper Melissa Dagenais.
This trend would continue throughout the first half, with Virginia getting eight shots up and holding the Hurricanes without one. Graduate student defender Lacey McCormack and McDermott led the offensive attack in the first half, each putting up multiple shots. However, Dagenais was quick between the goalposts for Miami, and failed to let a shot find the back of the net.
Still scoreless after what was a dominant first frame for the Cavaliers, Virginia did not relent and continued their pressure into the second half. Sophomore midfielder Jill Flammia and freshman forward Allie Ross started to get heavily involved in the attack as the game went on, with both getting numerous good looks at the net in the first 20 minutes of the half. Notably, in the 58th minute, Flammia got a great shot off at the bottom right corner of the net, but it was saved in a diving attempt by Dagenais.
Finally, in the 65th minute, the Cavaliers’ endless energy paid off. Following a long through ball from Ross, sophomore forward Maggie Cagle beat her defender and drove towards the net. She flicked a pass into the box that connected with Flammia’s head and soared past Dagenais for a goal. While it was only Flammia’s second goal of the season, it could not have come at a more opportune time for Virginia.
Despite having a lead now, the Cavaliers continued to stay on the attack. They continued to hold quality possessions and sent three more shots towards the net after landing their first goal. The Hurricanes eventually picked up some offensive momentum themselves, and two shots from sophomore forward Tusca Mahmoudpour were enough to keep Virginia on its toes.
However, graduate student goalkeeper Cayla White ended any hope Miami had by keeping a clean sheet. After some last ditch equalizing attempts arose, the Cavaliers sealed their 1-0 victory with some stellar defense.
With just two more games before the ACC tournament, Virginia is getting hot at just the right time. Virginia has soared up to seventh in the ACC standings with these past two wins, and with its final two ACC opponents yet to win a conference game this season, the Cavaliers have a great opportunity to finish ACC play on a four-game win streak and jump even higher in the standings.
As the NCAA Tournament looms just weeks away, these last few games will be crucial for Virginia if it wants to secure a spot. Looking further down the road, getting a good seed in the ACC Tournament will also be critical to Virginia’s chances at a postseason bid. They will likely need at least one win there to get a ticket to the NCAA Tournament, and that task will be more doable if the Cavaliers can grab a higher seed.
Virginia is back in Klöckner Stadium for senior day in another ACC match against Boston College Sunday. The Cavaliers will be honoring their six seniors before the game, and the match will be broadcasted on ACC Network with kickoff set for 2 p.m.