UVA women’s soccer tops Colgate in season opener

uva soccerA pair of seniors helped lift the No. 8 UVA (1-0-0) women’s soccer team to victory on Friday night as the Cavaliers defeated Colgate (0-1-0) by a score of 2-1 at Klöckner Stadium.

Betsy Brandon (Littleton, Colo.) and Ayan Adu (Ashburn, Va.) each net a goal in the opener to push Virginia to the win. Brandon’s goal came in the closing minutes of the first half, while Adu struck off a free kick late in the second and following an extended lightning delay.

“We have a good atmosphere here at Klöckner Stadium and that certainly helps us, especially with the way the game went,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “It was a good test for us, especially with some of the challenges we had. Colgate is a good team, they’re organized and we are happy to come away with the win.

“Ayan (Adu) has been working on that shot and that was an ideal time for that,” Swanson said of Adu’s shot. “We had been knocking on the door for 15 or 20 minutes and had some good chances and we had been putting some shots on frame and made their goalkeeper work. She had a good game tonight. Once we established the width, we opened some chances. That was a great play by Ayan. Sometimes you need a play like that to decide a game like this.”

The Cavaliers got on the board in the 43rd minute when Brandon took a pass in the box from Sydney Zandi (West Chester, Pa.) and slipped it past the keeper. Zandi dribbled through the defense and sent the ball ahead to Brandon 12 yards out for the goal to give Virginia the lead.

Colgate answered in the closing minute of the first half when Martina Loncar collected the ball 25 yards out off a pass from Ellis Miller and dribbled in, pushing the ball past the keeper who had come out to challenge near the top of the box. A Cavalier made a play for the ball at the line, but it crossed ahead of the sliding defender for the equalizer.

The score sat at 1-1 at the break.

Virginia opened the second half with a flurry of shots, firing off five in the first 10 minutes of the second half before a lightning delay paused the action. The halt in play lasted 28 minutes before the teams would resume action in the 56th minute.

The Cavaliers took the lead back in the 74th minute when Adu converted her free kick opportunity from right outside the top of the box. A handball by Colgate off a shot attempt set up the free kick from the dead center of the box. The senior struck true, sending it in over the defense and tucking it in to the upper right corner.

Virginia will return to action on Sunday afternoon, hosting Cincinnati at 5 p.m.

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