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Virginia women’s soccer forces a 1-1 tie on senior day against Boston College

The Cavaliers’ offense rallied in the second half to earn points in their third straight game

<p>The regular season finale will be consequential for the Cavaliers' conference tournament hopes.</p>

The regular season finale will be consequential for the Cavaliers' conference tournament hopes.

Coming off of two consecutive conference wins, the Virginia women’s soccer team was riding high on their way into a Senior Day showdown on Sunday with Boston College at Klöckner Stadium. The Eagles (3-9-5, 0-6-3 ACC) had yet to win an ACC game and were desperate to play spoiler to what was surely an important day for the six seniors the Cavaliers (7-3-6, 2-3-4 ACC) have on their squad. Ultimately, Virginia rallied for a 1-1 tie after a late-game equalizer.

Before the game, Virginia recognized senior forwards Sarah Brunner and Brianna Jablonowski, senior midfielder Peyton Goldthwaite, graduate student defenders Lacey McCormack and Talia Staude and graduate student goalkeeper Cayla White. 

Similar to their last few matches, the Cavaliers started the game with great offensive pressure. Virginia sophomore midfielder Jill Flammia was able to get open and let a shot loose from the edge of the 18-yard box just two minutes into the game, but junior keeper Wiebke Willebrandt made the save for Boston College. Later in the half, the Cavaliers continued their pressure by way of multiple shots from sophomore forward Maggie Cagle that came from well within the 18-yard box. In total, the Cavaliers were able to put up nine shots in the first half to pair with six corner kicks. Yet, they still failed to put the ball behind Willebrandt and move the game to their advantage. 

The Eagles were able to enforce pressure as well. An early chance from Boston College junior forward Aislin Streicek set the tone for the Eagles, and they followed it up with five more shots in the first half as well as multiple fast breaks. In the 34th minute, a deep shot from Boston College sophomore midfielder Riley Kerber had Virginia holding its breath before White made a diving save to keep the score even. 

Going into the second half, it appeared as if it would only be a matter of time before somebody took the lead. This would come to fruition in the 50th minute when Streicek broke free from the Cavalier defense and received a long ball from senior midfielder Laura Gouvin. Streicek found herself all alone with White, and all it took was one quick dribble move to find an open net and deposit a shot in for a 1-0 Boston College lead. 

This clearly lit a fire within the Virginia squad. Immediately after the Eagle goal, the Cavaliers went on a ruthless attack in which freshman midfielder Yuna McCormack put up two quick shots, one of which nearly beat Willebrandt and evened up the game for the Cavaliers. Despite McCormack’s miss, Virginia did not relent and continued their pressure — and it paid off. After a Boston College throw-in led to a turnover, the Cavaliers drove down the field until Cagle found sophomore forward Meredith McDermott open right in front of the 18-yard box and delivered a pass right through the defense. McDermott promptly beat the two defenders in front of her, found a gap in Willebrandt’s coverage and evened the game up for Virginia with a perfectly placed strike. 

With the game now even, both sides looked to get one more goal to gain three points in the standings instead of just one. For the Cavaliers, getting a win would move them into a firm seventh place in the conference and within striking distance of current six-seed Wake Forest in the standings. Virginia also sought to keep the Eagles towards the bottom of the ACC — they had not yet secured a conference victory. While a combined five shots were taken in the 30 minutes after McDermott’s goal, none were able to find the back of the net and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. 

While Virginia clearly wanted to win on their Senior Day, the draw still kept them in competition with Wake Forest and Virginia Tech for the sixth seed and a berth in the conference tournament. However, they will need a win in their next regular season game and losses from the other two programs to clinch the sixth seed. The Cavaliers will need to find their offensive rhythm earlier and play above the level of their competition in the regular season finale to maintain a fighting chance. 

Virginia is at SU Soccer Stadium for their final regular season game in another ACC match against Syracuse Thursday. The match will be broadcast on ACC Network with kickoff set for 7 p.m.


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