Nov. 2, 1998
By Elizabeth Marcon,
Athletic Media Relations
The Cavaliers take to the field tonight to try to upend the Patriots of George Mason University. Though the Cavs enter the game with a ranking of 13 and the Patriots are unranked, expect a tough match-up in this hotly contested in-state rivalry. Since the inception of the women’s soccer program at UVa. in 1985, the Cavs and Patriots have met every year. George Mason holds the series edge with an 8-4-3 overall record versus Virginia teams.
In the past four seasons, however, these two teams have played to three ties, with the lone victory coming in an at-home win for the Cavs. Last year, the seventh-ranked Cavaliers traveled to George Mason to face the #18 Patriots and emerged with a scoreless tie. After a two-hour delay due to lightning, the game was limited to only 70 minutes because of darkness.
Despite the deadlock, UVa. was dominating the game before its early finish, registering 13 shots on goal to Mason’s two. In 1996, current All-American Angela Hucles scored twice, with the first goal coming only 1:35 into the half. After Mason tied the game in the 51st minute, the game seemed poised to go into overtime, until Hucles’ heroics salvaged the win for the Cavs with a goal at 89:49. The 2-1 victory was the first against the Patriots since 1992. The game in 1995 resulted in a 2-2 tie on Mason’s turf. Ranked 7th, the Cavaliers were unable to contain the unranked Patriots.
Virginia scored first on a header from a corner kick in the 19th minute. Deep in the second period Mason scored on a penalty kick, knotting the game at 1-1 and sending it into overtime. UVA scored again in the second overtime period at the 112th minute, but Mason quickly struck back just two minutes later, and the game ended in a 2-2 deadlock. At home in 1994, the Cavs played to a scoreless tie with the Patriots, the first tie of the series.
In the 1990’s prior to 1994, the series was even at 2-2. In the past eight games the Cavs are 3-2-3 against the Patriots. The 1998 match-up is the 16th meeting for Virginia and George Mason. The Cavs look to come out on top tonight, instead of coming up even, as in recent years. Are the Cavaliers frustrated about the recent ties?
All-American Karem Esteva, a four-year starter, says, “It does get frustrating, but we expect that because [George Mason] always comes ready to play against us. We’ve played a lot of overtime games this year, so I think we’ll have the edge if this game goes to extra periods.”
Tonight Virginia wants to play strong from the start, and try to eliminate early the possibility of yet another tie with Mason. Says Esteva, “We have such a strong in-state rivalry with Mason, so we know it’s always a battle. They’re very aggressive and they step up and play hard, no matter what their rank.”
Esteva stresses that the Cavs must show up at tonight’s game ready to play to prevent the unranked Patriots from gaining an edge. Whatever the outcome at the end of 90 minutes, as past games have shown, this match-up between state rivals is sure to be competitive and exciting.