Women’s soccer: No. 1 Virginia advances with 7-1 win over Howard in NCAA Tournament
The top-ranked Virginia (17-1-2) women’s soccer team jumped out to an early lead Friday night and exploded for five goals in the second half as the Cavaliers defeated Howard (13-8-2) by a score of 7-1 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Makenzy Doniak (Chino Hills, Calif.) scored the two goals in the first half for Virginia as the Cavaliers held the Bison without a shot in the first half.
“We played good soccer most of the night,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “We kept the game plan in mind, moved the ball quite well and generated good chances. I thought from the zero minute to the 90th minute we played well. Especially in the second half when some of our reserves came in, they did really well with some good combination play and opening up the field for us.”
Virginia got on the board in the eighth minute when Doniak chased down a pass on the left side of the box and dribbled in toward the goal along the end line. The Cavalier senior took the shot and put it in past the far post to give the home team the 1-0 lead.
Doniak scored her second goal of the night in the 17th minute. Veronica Latsko (Venetia, Pa.) dribbled the ball in on the left side and tapped it over to Torres who passed it in to Doniak in the middle of the box. The senior fired the shot past the keeper and Virginia led 2-0.
Virginia held the Bison without a shot in the first half after taking 15 shots of their own on the way to the two goals.
Howard got its first shot of the game in the 48th minute when Kela Gray knocked one off the crossbar. The ball came back into the box with the Virginia keeper out of position after leaping to make the save and Whitney White put it in the net to cut the lead to 2-1.
Virginia answered moments later when Alexis Shaffer (Cary, N.C.) scored off a cross from Brittany Ratcliffe (Williamstown, N.J.) in the 49th minute to take the lead out to 3-1.
A pair of goals in the 58th minute took the Virginia lead out to 5-1 as the Cavalier offense turned up the pressure. Meghan Cox (Springfield, Va.) scored a header off an Emily Sonnett (Marietta, Ga.) cross for the first goal, while Ayan Adu (Ashburn, Va.) got her first career goal off a cross from Doniak seconds later.
Latsko then put two balls in the net to take the lead out to 7-1. Latsko scored in the 78th minute off a cross sent into the box by Kaili Torres (Fleming Island, Fla.) that was deflected, but not controlled, by the keeper. She added her second goal in the 80th minute off a cross from Adu.
The score would hold down the stretch as Virginia picked up the win and advanced in the NCAA Tournament. Virginia will now face UNC Wilmington in the second round of play next weekend.