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Women’s soccer: No. 1 Virginia advances with 2-0 win over UNCW

uva-logo-new2It took into the second half, but the Cavaliers got big goals from Alexis Shaffer (Cary, N.C.) and Makenzy Doniak (Chino Hills, Calif.) to lift the home team to victory as No. 1 Virginia (18-1-2) defeated UNCW (15-7-1) by a score of 2-0 Friday night.

With the victory, the Cavaliers will advance to face No. 11 Southern California at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

The win was the 13th shutout victory of the season for Virginia as goalkeeper Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas) improved to 12-1-1 on the season. The defensive back line for the Cavaliers held UNCW without a shot until the closing minutes of the game and only one shot on the night.

“We were under no illusions about tonight,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “We knew exactly the caliber of team we would be facing. They are well organized and well coached. They have played at Klöckner before and this was the game we expected. I was pleased with our team. We did some good things, especially our defending. They have a good counter attack and are good in transition. We did a good job of limiting that. It’s easy to see why they got here.”

Virginia tested the Seahawk keeper early, firing off the first shot of the game in less than a minute. The Cavaliers got turned away twice in succession at point-blank range in the 11th minute before a Veronica Latsko (Venetia, Pa.) shot would clip the post and carom out of bounds.

The Cavaliers got a chance in the 20th minute on a counter as Doniak raced down the field and past a defender. The senior forward got a one-on-one chance with keeper, but she made the save and UNCW cleared the ball allowing for a corner for Virginia.

The home team used the opportunity to turn up the offensive pressure on the visiting Seahawks. Virginia held an 11-0 advantage in shots at the break, but couldn’t find the net to get into the scoring column.

Virginia broke through in the 51st minute when Shaffer put the ball in from 18 yards out. Latsko took a shot that was blocked and, in the chaos, the ball bounced out to the Cavalier midfielder. Shaffer settled the ball at the top of the box and fired at the net, burying the shot in the upper left corner for the 1-0 lead.

The Cavaliers moved out to a 2-0 lead in the 61st minute when UNCW failed to clear a ball headed by Tina Iordanou (Upper Brookville, N.Y.). The Seahawks cleared the header off the line, but not out of the box as Doniak put it back in the net from two yards out.

Virginia continued to turn away the Seahwaks and mount attacks of its own down the stretch on the way to the victory. The Cavaliers outshot UNCW 28-to-1 on the night.


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