Women’s soccer: No. 1 Virginia falls in shootout to No. 9 Rutgers In NCAA quarterfinals

uva-logo-new2The Cavaliers and Scarlet Knights battled to a draw through 110 minutes, but it was the visiting team that moved on as No. 9 Rutgers (19-3-3) advanced past No. 1 Virginia (19-1-3) 7-6 in a shootout on Friday (Nov. 27).

Virginia keeper Jessie Ferrari (Fairfax, Va.) saved the first to penalty kick attempts by Rutgers in the shootout, but after a five kicks the score stood at 3-3 as Rutgers came up with a save of its own and the final kick hit off the crossbar. The shootout then moved into sudden victory from there, with Rutgers advancing in the ninth round as the Scarlet Knights made the kick, but keeper Casey Murphy saved the Virginia kick.

It ends the season one game shy of the College Cup for the Cavaliers.

“Rutgers gets a lot of numbers behind the ball and they’re a pretty physical team,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “We knew this would be the kind of game that transpired today. We didn’t move the ball as well as we should have or as quickly as we needed to change the point. Credit Rutgers for that because they didn’t give us a lot of good looks and got it into a penalty kick situation where anything can happen, and it did. They played hard to come in to our place and play they way the did defensively, you have to give them credit.

“Rutgers has been a difficult team to break down all year. You can’t look at it as the penalty kick contest was the reason we lost. We had 110 minutes to break them down and we didn’t do that. They’ve been difficult to break down all year and you have to give them their due. They were organized and limited our chances.”

Rutgers fired the first shot of the afternoon in the 10-minute mark when Samantha Valiant put the ball on frame from roughly 20 yards out. Virginia keeper Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas) answered the call, securing the shot to keep the Scarlet Knights off the board.

The Cavaliers’ best chances offensively came following corner kicks. Three of the four first-half shots for Virginia came after a service on the corner. Veronica Latsko (Venetia, Pa.) and Ayan Adu (Ashburn, Va.) sent shots wide, while Kristen McNabb (Montville, N.J.) had a shot blocked in the box with seconds remaining in the first half.

Virginia held a 4-to-2 advantage in shots at the break.

The second half started with the Cavaliers again getting chances off corner kicks. A header from Tina Iordanou (Upper Brookville, N.Y.) in the 55th minute provided the first scoring opportunity, but the header was high. Iordanou would get another chance in the 57th minute, but again the shot from distance was high.

Alexis Shaffer (Cary, N.C.) also fired a shot from distance that sailed high in the 60th minute, as the Cavaliers turned up the pressure in the opening minutes of the second period.

Despite holding a 9-to-3 edge in shots through regulation, the Cavaliers couldn’t find the net as the match headed into an overtime period.

Rutgers got the only shot of the first overtime period, firing off a dangerous ball early in the period, but again Stearns was up to the task to turn away the attack. The initial overtime ended with no score and moved into a second overtime.

The Scarlet Knights got a free kick in the 102nd minute following a foul on Virginia outside the box. Rutgers took the kick, but it sailed high and wide as the game continued in overtime.

The Cavaliers got three shots in the second overtime period with Makenzy Doniak (Chino Hills, Calif.) firing one that was blocked and one that was wide. Rutgers threatened late, getting a shot and a corner kick in the final minute, but couldn’t convert as the match moved to a shootout.

Virginia went up in the shootout after saving the first two attempts by Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knight keeper responded and made a save of her own before the fifth kick by the Cavaliers clipped the crossbar and bounced back into the field of play, forcing sudden victory kicks.

The two teams traded kicks into the ninth round before Rutgers would claim the shootout to advance to the College Cup.

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