CHARLOTTESVILLE - The top-ranked Virginia women’s soccer team became the first ACC school to have a undefeated and untied regular season in a decade as it downed No. 5 Virginia Tech 2-0 Thursday night at Klöckner Stadium. The Cavaliers (19-0, 13-0 ACC) set the school record for wins in a season with the victory, while the Hokies (14-3-2, 9-3-1 ACC) suffered just their third defeat of the season, all to top-five opponents.
Senior Amber Fry (Northfield, Ill.) and sophomore Makenzy Doniak (Chino Hills, Calif.) scored for the Cavaliers, while senior Annie Steinlage (Grand Haven, Mich.) recorded a career-high two assists as Virginia posted its fourth top-five win of the season,
“This was one tough game tonight,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “I thought Virginia Tech fought hard and made it challenging for us. They are a solid team that has the potential to go far in the postseason.”
The Cavaliers jumped out the lead in the ninth minute of play. Steinlage blasted a shot from the top of the box that couldn’t be corralled and Fry, who go the start on senior night, was there to knock in the rebound for her third goal of the season. Despite outshooting the Hokies 9-4 over the first 45 minutes, Fry’s tally was the only goal and the Cavaliers took the 1-0 lead into intermission.
Virginia and Virginia Tech traded chances throughout the second half until the Cavaliers scored with 41 seconds remaining to seal the victory. Steinlage played a through ball onto the run of Doniak, who scored on the breakway for her team-leading 14th goal of the season.
Thursday was senior night for the Cavaliers, who had eight fourth-years in the starting lineup. In addition to the six regular senior starters, two who normally come off the bench had big performances. Fry’s goal in first half was her first career game-winning goal andDanielle DeLisle (Baltimore, Md.) played all 90 minutes in goal to post her seventh career shutout and first of this season.
“This is an amazing group of seniors,” said Swanson. “What is so great is that for their whole career, it has never been about themselves, it has always been about the team. They only care about the team and making the team better. It is really rare to see a group that is so invested in the group. No one is pouting if they aren’t playing. They just want to win as a group.”
Overall, Virginia outshot Virginia Tech 15-9 and had a 7-3 corner kick advantage. DeLisle didn’t record a save to post the shutout in goal for the Cavaliers, while Dayle Colpitts made seven saves for the Hokies. The shutout was the sixth straight for the Virginia defense, who now have a 569-minute shutout streak, the fifth longest in school history.
The crowd of 2,252 for Thursday night’s game was the fourth largest in Cavalier women’s soccer history. All four of the largest crowds have come this season.
The Cavaliers are the first team to post a perfect regular season since Stanford in 2009. They are the first ACC team to accomplish the feat since North Carolina in 2003.
“Just the cumulative effect of the league, going undefeated is really tough,” said Swanson, “It is amazing accomplishment. The caliber of the competition, playing every Thursday and Sunday, this league is so tough. I don’t think it has set in yet that we were able to go through the league undefeated. We still haven’t accomplished all our goals for the season, so I know our team is still hungry for more.”
Virginia will be the No. 1 seed for the 2013 ACC Tournament, which begins with quarterfinal play on Sunday. The Cavaliers will host No. 8 seed Maryland on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium. The four quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals, held Nov. 8 at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.