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Women’s soccer: No. 8 UVA posts 6-0 victory over Pittsburgh

virginia soccerSenior midfielder Alexis Shaffer (Cary, N.C.) notched her first hat trick of the season to pace the offense as No. 8 UVA (9-2-2, 2-1-2 ACC) defeated Pittsburgh (1-11-1, 0-5-0 ACC) by a score of 6-0 on Thursday.

Freshman forward Taylor Ziemer (Santa Rosa, Calif.) added a pair of goals, including the game-winner, and two assists. Morgan Reuther (Chantilly, Va.) capped the scoring with a successful penalty kick for the six-goal margin of victory.

It is the ninth shutout of the season as every victory for the Cavaliers has come by shutout in 2016.

“We’ve been getting better every week and this was our most consistent performance for 90 minutes and we converted our chances tonight,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. We started off well and we finished well. Tonight we defended better as a team and our decisions were more consistent. That led to better chances and we finished those chances. Now we have to go on the road and do it against a good Notre Dame team that is tough to play at home.”

Freshmen connected for the first goal of the night as Alissa Gorzak (Naperville, Ill.) dribbled down the near side of the box and passed it in to Ziemer. Ziemer fired the shot from 14 yards out to give the Cavaliers the 1-0 lead on the Panthers in the 15th minute of play.

Minutes later Ziemer got in the assist column, finding Shaffer at the top of the box for the second goal of the night and a 2-0 lead in the 22nd minute. Shaffer then recorded her second goal of the evening a minute later on a free kick following a Pittsburgh foul 25 yards out just past the penalty arc.

The Cavaliers held a 3-0 lead at the half with a 14-to-0 advantage in shots.

The scoring resumed quickly in the second half with Ziemer striking from distance in the 51st minute, hitting from 30 yards out, while Shaffer notched her hat trick a minute later off a pass from Ziemer and the lead grew to 5-0 in favor of the home team.

The penalty kick from Reuther gave the Cavaliers a 6-0 lead in the 68th minute. It would cap the scoring for Virginia as the Cavaliers picked up the shutout victory.

Virginia will return to action on Sunday, facing No. 20 Notre Dame on the road at 1 p.m.