Sept. 12, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE – The No. 2 Virginia women’s soccer team opened conference play with a 3-0 victory over Syracuse Thursday night at Klöckner Stadium. The Cavaliers (7-0, 1-0 ACC) completed a perfect seven-game homestand with the win, while the Orange (4-3, 0-1 ACC) suffered a loss in their inaugural ACC match.
Sophomore forwards Makenzy Doniak (Chino Hills, Calif.) and Brittany Ratcliffe (Williamstown, N.J.) each had a goal and an assist, and junior midfielder Morgan Brian (St. Simons Island, Ga.) added a pair of assists to lead the Cavaliers.
“This was not an easy game for us,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “They were tough to break down and very organized defensively. Having said that, I thought we scored some really nice goals. We had a lot of good ball movement, which we have been working on. It was a good start to conference play for us.”
Although Virginia had a majority of possession in the first half, the game remained scoreless until the 33rd minute of play. Brian threaded a pass to Doniak, who beat the charging keeper to the ball and placed her fifth goal of the season into the net. Six minutes later the Cavaliers doubled their advantage. A give-and-go passing sequence between first-year midfielder Alexis Shaffer (Cary, N.C.) and Ratcliffe ended with Shaffer firing in her second goal of the season.
The Cavaliers added a third goal in the 70th minute, keeping alive their streak of scoring in every half this season. Brian’s through ball sent Doniak in behind the Orange defense. Instead of shooting on her one-on-one chance with the keeper, she delivered a cross to Ratcliffe to tap in her team-leading sixth goal of the season.
Overall Virginia outshot Syracuse 16-4 in the game and had an 8-3 corner kick advantage. First-year Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas) made a season-high three saves in goal for the Cavaliers to record her third shutout of the season. It was fifth shutout overall for the Virginia defense this season, including the fourth consecutive clean sheet. Brittany Anghel made one save in goal for the Orange.
“I am happy the schedule breaks a little bit now,” said Swanson. “We have been going with two games a week for the last few weeks. It is nice to have a little break to get rested and have a chance to train a little bit. It is still early in the year and we still have some things to work on.”
The Cavaliers will play their next three games on the road, beginning with a match at Boston College on Sept. 19.
#2 VIRGINIA 3, SYRACUSE 0
Syracuse (4-3, 0-1) 0 0 – 0
#2 Virginia (7-0, 1-0) 2 1 – 3
Shots: UVa 16, SU 4
SOG: UVa 5, SU 3
Corners: UVa 8, SU 3
Saves: UVa 3 (Stearns 3), SU 2 (Anghel 1, Team 1)
Fouls: UVa 5, SU 11