UVa. women’s soccer downs VCU, 4-2

The No. 7 Virginia women’s soccer team kicked off the 2013 season with a 4-2 victory over in-state rival VCU in front of 1,768 fans Friday night at Klöckner Stadium. The victory was the Cavaliers’ 13th consecutive win against in-state competition.

Four different Cavaliers found the back of the net as sophomore defender Emily Sonnett (Marietta, Ga.) had a goal and an assist and junior midfielder Morgan Brian (St. Simons Island, Ga.) had a pair of assists to lead Virginia.

“I thought we did some good things at times, created a lot of chances and moved the ball well tonight,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “Their goalie had a great game and you really have to credit her for her performance. The one thing that really sticks out is we allowed two goals on four shots. That is disappointing. We have to be better in that regard and there are things we can easily correct. It’s early in the season and anytime you can learn lessons and still win, you take it.”

Virginia wasted little time taking the lead, scoring in the second minute. Junior midfielder Danielle Colaprico (Freehold, N.J.) chipped a through ball from Brian past the keeper at 1:48, the earliest goal of a season in school history. The Rams answered in the 23rd minute as Maren Johansen intercepted a pass back and scored on a one-on-one opportunity to even the score. Three minutes later the Cavaliers retook the lead as Sonnett headed home a corner kick from senior forward Amber Fry (Northfield, Ill.). Virginia took that 2-1 lead into halftime.

In the second half, the Cavaliers extended the lead to 3-1 in the 69th minute. A cross from Sonnett found senior defender Molly Menchel (Alexandria, Va.) alone on the far post, and she tapped in her first goal of the year. Virginia took a 4-1 lead in the 76th minute as Brian’s blast from the top of the area was saved, but the rebound went right to Brittany Ratcliffe (Williamstown, N.J.) and the sophomore forward knocked in her first career goal. VCU got back a goal late as Alex Gogolin headed in a Abbey Ritter free kick in the 89th minute to make the final score 4-2.

Virginia outshot VCU 26-4 and had an 8-3 corner kick advantage. Senior Danielle DeLisle (Baltimore, Md.) and junior Churchill O’Connell (McLean, Va.) each played a half in goal for the Cavaliers. Emma Kruse made 12 saves at the other end for the Rams, including several world-class stops to keep VCU in the game.

The game was the second game of the day of the Klöckner Classic. In the first game, reigning NCAA Champion and preseason No. 1 North Carolina downed No. 9 Santa Clara 2-0. The tournament concludes Sunday with another doubleheader. North Carolina and VCU meet at noon with Virginia and Santa Clara to follow at 2:30 p.m.

“Sunday’s game will be a real test for us,” said Swanson. “Santa Clara is a great team. They are well organized and I have a lot of respect for their program. I think we are going to have to play better than we did today to get a result. We are looking forward to the challenge and it was games like this that we like to have at the beginning of the season to judge where we are as a team.”

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