Women’s soccer: No. 1 Virginia races past Pitt, 6-0

uva pitt2Betsy Brandon (Littleton, Colo.) turned in her first multiple-goal game and the Cavaliers scored three goals in the final three minutes of the first half as No. 1 Virginia (15-1-1, 9-1-0 ACC) picked up a 6-0 win at Pittsburgh (10-7-1, 4-6-0 ACC) on Saturday night.

It was the 10th clean sheet of the season for the Cavaliers and seventh in conference play as Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas) and Jessie Ferrari (Fairfax, Va.) combined in the shutout.

“It was a tough match and it didn’t feel like a 6-0 match,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “Pittsburgh is athletic and they worked hard. We finished some goals tonight, which we haven’t done in other games. At times we moved the ball well, but you have to credit them. It was a much harder game than a 6-0 game.

“It’s been a long couple of weeks and we need to come back and recover. We haven’t had a lot of time to train the last two weeks, so it’s important for us to get back home, recover and train as we get ready to head into the ACC Tournament.”

Virginia struck first off its fourth corner kick of the night in the 25th minute. Alexis Shaffer (Cary, N.C) sent the ball in where it was bounced around before Tina Iordanou (Upper Brookville, N.Y.) put a head on it and sent it toward the goal. The ball was deflected back to the feet of Brandon, who buried the shot.

Brandon found the net again just four minutes later, this time off a ball into the box by Iordanou. Iordanou took the ball along the end line just outside the six-yard box and sent it in to Brandon. The freshman settled and put the ball in goal from three yards out to give Virginia the 2-0 lead.

The lead went out to 3-0 in the 43rd minute when the Cavaliers took advantage of a turnover and countered. Ayan Adu (Ashburn, Va.) dribbled down the middle of the field before sending the ball head to Makenzy Doniak. Doniak then turned and dribbled past a defender and into the box before laying the ball of to Morgan Reuther (Chantilly, Va.) for the goal.

A minute later the Cavaliers added a fourth goal when Doniak scored unassisted to make it a 4-0 lead. Doniak then connected with Shaffer in the final minute of the half for the fifth goal of the night. Shaffer took the pass from Doniak 30 yards out and fired a shot into the upper right corner for the five-goal lead.

Virginia held an 11-to-8 advantage in shots at the half and a 6-to-0 advantage in corner kicks.

The lead moved out to 6-0 in the second half when Shaffer got her second goal of the night in the 61st minute. Brittany Ratcliffe (Williamstown, N.J.) took a ball down the far side of the field before sending the ball in to Shaffer in the box. Shaffer took two steps in toward the goal and fired the shot from 10 yards out to extend the lead.

The defense held the Panthers in check down the stretch as the Cavaliers picked up the shutout victory to close out the regular season.

Virginia will return to action on Friday, Nov. 6 when the Cavaliers open the ACC Tournament at WakeMed Park in Cary, N.C. Virginia is the top-seed in the tournament by virtue of winning the ACC regular season championship.


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