Sept. 19, 2013
NEWTON, Mass. – The Virginia women’s soccer team, playing its first game as the nation’s top-ranked team in 23 years, rallied for a 2-1 victory at Boston College in its road opener Thursday. Sophomore Makenzy Doniak (Chino Hills, Calif.) and senior Molly Menchel (Alexandria, Va.) scored four minutes apart in the second half to keep the Cavaliers (8-0, 2-0 ACC) unbeaten on the season. The Eagles fell to 4-4 overall and 1-2 in the conference.
The victory was Virginia’s first win in Boston, having been shutout in each of its first four trips to the Newton Campus Field. The win was also the 300th career victory for Cavalier head coach Steve Swanson.
“To come back and win a game like this, especially in a place that is this difficult, and against a very strong team, says a lot about our heart and our mental fortitude,” said Swanson. “Lesser teams would have buckled after giving up that first goal. We bore down and got ourselves back in the game. I thought Boston College played very well and imposed their style on us for portions of the game. We settled down in the second half, created some chances and were able to put them away.”
The game was scoreless at the half, marking the first time the Cavaliers have not scored in a half this season. Virginia had several chances throughout the half before the Eagles closed the first period strong, forcing several key saves from UVa first-year goalkeeper Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas).
The Eagles took the lead early in the second half, striking in the 47th minute. Patrice Vittori slipped a through ball that sent Stephanie McCaffrey on a breakaway. She scored on the opportunity for her fourth goal of the season. The goal snapped Virginia’s shutout streak at 490:34, the eighth longest streak in school history.
The Cavaliers trailed for just the second time this season, but found the equalizer 11 minutes after the Boston College goal. Senior midfielder Annie Steinlage (Grand Haven, Mich.) slipped a ball to Doniak, who fired a low shot just inside the far post to tie the game. Four minutes later, a similar play set up Doniak again. Her shot went through the hands of the goalkeeper and as it bounced towards the far post, Menchel headed in the go-ahead goal. It was her fourth goal of the season, and third game-winner.
Overall Virginia and Boston College each had 13 shots, while the Eagles had 6-5 corner kick advantage. Stearns made a career-high six saves in goal for Virginia, while Jessica Mickelson had three saves for Boston College. Swanson became the 16th Division I coach to reach the 300-win mark and the 31st coach in all divisions of NCAA women’s soccer. He now has a career record of 300-134-45 over his 24-year career at Dartmouth, Stanford and Virginia.
“I got into coaching because I love soccer and I thought I could help people along the way,” said Swanson. “The thing I have learned over the years is that I am the one who has really been helped. I have been fortunate to have a lot of players, assistant coaches and staff that have been very good to me. This milestone is just a reflection of all those people, past and present. This game is all about the players, so have have to give them the credit.”
The Cavaliers continue their three-game road trip on Sunday as they visit conference newcomer Pittsburgh. Game time at Ambrose Urbanic Field is 1 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
#1 VIRGINIA 2, BOSTON COLLEGE 1
#1 Virginia (8-0, 2-0) 0 2 – 2
Boston College (4-4, 1-2) 0 1 – 1
Shots: UVa 13, BC 13
SOG: UVa 5, BC 7
Corners: UVa 5, BC 6
Saves: UVa 6 (Stearns 6), BC (Mickelson 3)