Women’s soccer: No. 1 Virginia defeats No. 11 USC, 2-0
Senior forward Makenzy Doniak (Chino Hills, Calif.) and junior midfielder Alexis Shaffer (Cary, N.C.) came through for the second time on the weekend, each scoring a goal as No. 1 Virginia (19-1-2) defeated No. 11 USC (15-6-2) by a score of 2-0 on Sunday.
The win advanced the Cavaliers into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. Virginia will host Rutgers at 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27.
Doniak and Shaffer each have 14 goals on the season to pace the Cavalier offense. Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas) improved to 13-1-2 in goal this season as she helped Virginia post its 14th shutout victory of the season with six saves on the afternoon.
“It’s a big win today because that was a tough USC team today,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “They didn’t finish second in the Pac 12 for nothing. They are good and they are athletic. It was a change from the first two games with how we had to adjust and break things down. We’re happy to be moving on for sure.
“That first goal was huge. It gives your team confidence because now the onus was on them to try to score. They were sitting back a little bit. It definitely changed the dynamic. The second goal was fantastic. That was a back breaker for sure.”
Virginia got one of its few chances in the 22nd minute when Shaffer poked away a ball at the midfield and the Cavaliers advanced on the counter. With a numbers advantage, Virginia tapped the ball out wide to Veronica Latsko (Venetia, Pa.) for the shot, but it was high.
Another solid opportunity came in the 38th minute when Virginia got a free kick outside the top of the box 25 yards out. The Cavaliers went wide with the kick and after a failed clearance Shaffer fired a shot that was blocked in the box as USC kept the Cavaliers off the board.
Virginia broke through in the 43rd minute when Doniak scored off a cross from Tina Iordanou (Upper Brookville, N.Y.). Iordanou took the ball from Shaffer wide on the left side and sent the ball in to Doniak. The senior knocked the ball down with her chest and tapped it in past the keeper for the 1-0 lead.
Virginia held an 8-to-4 advantage in shots at the half and the one-goal lead.
The squads battled to a stalemate through a bulk of the second half with each side making dangerous runs, but neither able to finish scoring opportunities. Virginia changed that with 10 minutes remaining in the match.
In the 80th minute, Latsko took a pass down the right side of the field and sent the ball back to Shaffer at the top of the box. Shaffer fired the shot in past the keeper on the right and put the Cavaliers on top 2-0.
Stearns and the Virginia defense turned away the Trojans down the stretch with the junior keeper picking up five of her six saves in the second half to preserve the win for the Cavaliers.