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MAPLE CITY, Mich. – The No. 9 Cavalier women’s soccer team made its 2009 season debut on Friday, tying No. 3 Notre Dame 3-3 in an exhibition contest in Myles Kimmerly Park. The game concluded a week-long training camp in Michigan for the Cavaliers, who return home to host Georgetown in their second exhibition contest Sunday night.

“I think it was an excellent scrimmage for us,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “We had a chance to see a lot of players play against a quality team. It was a good way to cap off an excellent week of training here in Michigan.”

The game was played in three 30-minute periods. In the opening period, the Irish jumped out to a strong start, scoring three times in the opening 15 minutes of play. Melissa Henderson scored twice for Notre Dame, while Courtney Barg added the other Irish goal.

“The first 20 minutes was a case of an experienced team going up against an inexperienced back line,” said Swanson. “We made some mistakes that a team like Notre Dame will make you pay for. But we settled down and the second period was even, with both teams having good chances. It was an opportunity to learn and that is all you want from an exhibition like this.”

The first two periods were played with both teams using their starters and key reserves, although Virginia’s All-American midfielder Sinead Farrelly (Havertown, Pa.) missed the game. The final period featured both team’s reserves and the Cavaliers’ depth proved to be a difference, as Virginia rallied from the 3-0 deficit to draw even.

In the 68th minute, first-year Kiley Naylor (Cincinnati, Ohio) headed in a corner kick from Molly McKeon (Midlothian, Va.) to put the Cavaliers on the scoreboard. In the 78th minute, Caroline Miller (Rockville, Md.), another Cavalier first-year making her collegiate debut, scored on a breakaway set up by Kika Toulouse (Arlington, Va.). Miller added her second goal of the game in the 89th minute, an unassisted tally to draw the Cavaliers level at 3-3.

“We got better and better as the game went along and our depth came through in the final period,” said Swanson. “That improvement is good to see from a young team. I don’t put too much stock into score of these exhibitions, but it was good to have a chance to see how our players handled this level of competition.”

Virginia hosts Georgetown in its final exhibition contest on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium. Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for youth/seniors.

The Cavaliers open the 2009 regular season on Aug. 21 when they visit No. 12 Penn State. Virginia’s home schedule begins the following week (Aug. 28) when it hosts Liberty.

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