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No. 1 Cavaliers Down Georgetown to Reach NCAA Sweet 16

Photo: WINA

No. 1 Cavaliers Down Georgetown to Reach NCAA Sweet 16

CHARLOTTESVILLE - The top-seeded Virginia women’s soccer team advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 victory over Georgetown Friday night in front of a postseason record crowd of 1,988 fans at Klöckner Stadium. Junior midfielder Morgan Brian’s (St. Simons Island. Ga.) goal in the 33rd minute was all the Cavaliers needed to reach the round of the 16 for the ninth consecutive season.

The Cavaliers (22-1) will meet ACC rival Wake Forest in the third round on Sunday. The Demon Deacons topped Penn State 1-0 in the first game of the day in Charlottesville. The wins by Virginia and Wake Forest were part of a perfect day of play for the conference, as all eight ACC teams to make the NCAA Tournament have reached the round of 16. The Hoyas had their season end with a 16-3-2 record.

“It was a difficult game as they were very committed to defending,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “They did a good job of condensing the field and not giving us a lot of chances, which limited their attack. I thought we showed patience and made good decisions. They are a good team and we had to be sharp to get chances against them.”

Virginia controlled play from the outset, but didn’t take the lead until the 33rd minute of play. Brian threaded a ball behind the defense to first-year midfielder Alexis Shaffer (Cary, N.C.). Shaffer got to the ball just before the end line and sent a ball back to the top of the box to Brian, who one-timed in her 14th goal of the season. The Cavaliers took the 1-0 lead into halftime having outshot the Hoyas 7-0.

The Cavaliers continued to pressure the Georgetown defense the remainder of the night and almost doubled the lead when junior midfielderDanielle Colaprico (Freehold, N.J.) rifled a shot off the crossbar in the 60th minute. The second goal didn’t come, but Brian’s strike was enough as the Virginia defense posted its 15th shutout of the season, tying the school record set in 2007.

“We had some good looks early in the second half,” said Swanson. “Maybe if we get that one that hit the crossbar, maybe it is a different game. Maybe they have to come out and play a little more. But we didn’t get the second one and it gave them a chance to give it a go in the final 10 minutes. We did a good job of making good decisions defensively tonight.”

Overall, Virginia outshot Georgetown 15-1, with the Hoyas only shot a blocked attempt in the 86th minute. The Cavaliers also had a 4-0 corner-kick advantage. First-year goalkeeper Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas) didn’t need to record a save to post her eighth shutout of the season. Hoya keeper Emma Newins made five saves at the other end. “If you come out and out and try to be aggressive, they can embarrass you,” said Georgetown head coach Dave Nolan. “The plan was to try and keep the game as tight as we could and when the time was right, try to release and be braver. We just couldn’t. They’re very good. They just made it very difficult. As we would win the ball, they would win the back. It wasn’t poor execution, they’re just that good. We limited what they do well and we kept their two best players kind of in check, but they have other weapons.”

With the victory, Virginia advanced to the NCAA round of 16 for the ninth consecutive year, tied for the second-longest active streak in the nation with Florida State, behind only North Carolina.

Sunday’s Virginia-Wake Forest game will kick off at Klöckner Stadium at 5 p.m. Earlier in the day, the Virginia men’s soccer team will host St. John’s in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament at 1 p.m.