#4 UVA women’s soccer upsets #1 UCLA, 2-1, to reach College Cup

uva soccerThe fourth-ranked UVA women’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Women’s College Cup for the second consecutive year by upsetting top-ranked and reigning national champion UCLA 2-1 Friday night at Drake Stadium. The Cavaliers (22-2) advance to next week’s national semifinals, while the Bruins (21-1-2) had their 44-game unbeaten streak and their 27-game home unbeaten streaks snapped.

Virginia will play either Texas A&M or penn state in a national semifinal on Dec. 5 in Boca Raton, Fla. The semifinals will be 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU. The national championship game will be Dec. 7 at 1 p.m., also on ESPNU.

Junior Emily Sonnett (Marietta, Ga.) and senior Morgan Brian (St. Simons Island, Ga.) scored for the Cavaliers, who became the only team to score multiple goals on UCLA this season.

“We felt we could win the game, but we knew it would take a monumental effort and we got that tonight,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “I thought our defense was fantastic, as we bent but didn’t break. We limited their chances and took advantage of the ones we created. You are not going to beat this team by scoring one goal, they are just too good, so scoring two tonight was crucial. Our whole team was fantastic and we needed to be to beat the best. That is a team that is absolutely loaded with talent who are great people too. It is tough that one of us has to go out at this stage. I am just so proud of how our kids performed in a difficult environment after a long trip.”

There were few chances for either side over the first 30 minutes, but the Cavaliers took the lead in the 33rd minute. Sonnett took the ball up the field and delivered a pass to Makenzy Doniak (Chino Hills, Calif.). Doniak’s shot was blocked, but Sonnett continued her run and beat UCLA keeper Katelyn Rowland to the loose ball and placed it in net for her fourth goal of the season. The goal snapped UCLA’s 969-minute shutout streak, the seventh longest in NCAA history. Virginia took the 1-0 lead into intermission, outshooting the Bruins 5-3 over the first 45 minutes.

The first shot of the second half for either side didn’t come until the 71st minute, but the Cavaliers made it count. After a cross into the box was cleared by a Bruin defender right to Brian at the top of the box, Brian took a touch a buried her 10th goal of the year inside the far post.

The Bruins cut the lead in half just three minutes later on their first shot of the second half. Caprice Dydasco got to the end line and served a ball that hit off the far post for her third goal of the season. The Virginia defense held the Bruins off the board the rest of the way as the Cavaliers secured their College Cup berth.

The victory was Virginia’s second all-time victory over a top-ranked team. The first was a 3-2 overtime win over Boston College in 2010 at Klöckner Stadium. It was also the Cavaliers’ first NCAA Tournament win away from Klöckner since a 6-2 win at penn state in the 2009 second round.

Both teams had seven shots in the game, while the Bruins had a 4-1 corner kick edge. Sophomore Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas) made three saves for the Cavaliers, while Rowland made one save for the Bruins.

The Texas A&M-penn state quarterfinal game will be played Saturday in College Station, Texas.

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