Nov. 18, 2016
WASHINGTON – The Cavaliers continued to advance in NCAA Tournament play on Friday (Nov. 18), using a first-minute goal to take the lead as Virginia (15-4-2) defeated Penn State (14-5-4) by a score of 3-0 at Georgetown’s Shaw Field.
With the win, Virginia will now advance to the Round of 16 on Sunday (Nov. 20) and play No. 5 Georgetown. Georgetown is hosting the games and is the second-seeded team in the region, while Virginia is the third seed.Kick for the Round of 16 game is set for noon.
“First, congrats to Penn State on a tremendous season,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “They have an exceptional team and when you consider how many players they have lost to the U-20 World Cup, it is even more impressive. I think it’s great they support their players’ efforts to compete at the international level, especially when it obviously affects their college team. Having said that, we are very proud of our team and how they performed today. That was some of our best soccer all year on both sides of the ball.”
The clean sheet is the 11th of the season for the Cavaliers as senior goalkeeper Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas) and the back line limited chances for a Nittany Lion offense that scored 37 goals on the season and had only been shut out twice.
The Cavaliers out-shot the Nittany Lions 20-to-4 on the afternoon. Virginia allowed only one shot in the first half and three shots in the second half from an offense that scored
“We’ve worked a lot on our attacking set plays and it was great to see that pay off,” Swanson said. “When you score early, it gives you confidence. It also put them on their heels and had them chasing a little bit. We’re a young team and it settled us down a bit and let us calm down and play.”
“It was nice to see us come out and win the second half as well. I was proud of the team. Penn State is a great team and has very good players. To get the shutout speaks a lot to our team and defensive attitude.
Virginia wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, notching a goal in the first minute of play off a free kick. A foul called on the Nittany Lions as Alissa Gorzak (Naperville, Ill.) dribbled down the near side of the field set up the free kick. Alexis Shaffer (Cary, N.C.) took the free kick, serving the ball toward the far post where Meghan Cox (Springfield, Va.) headed it in.
Betsy Brandon (Littleton, Colo.) extended the lead in the 23rd minute. Following a throw in, the Cavaliers played the ball to Ayan Adu (Ashburn, Va.) at the top of the box. The sophomore played it through to Brandon who tapped it past the defender and fired the shot in from eight yards out for the 2-0 lead.
At the half, the Cavaliers held a 14-to-1 advantage in shots and the 2-0 lead.
Virginia took the lead out to 3-0 in the 75th minute of play on a goal from Taylor Ziemer (Santa Rosa, Calif.). After a goal kick, the Cavalier got possession at midfield with Tina Iordanou (Upper Brookville, N.Y.) sending the ball in over the top. Ziemer raced forward to collect the ball, dribbling forward for a one-on-one as the Penn State keeper came out to meet her 12 yards out. Ziemer tapped the ball over the keeper and it bounced into goal for the Cavaliers’ third score of the day.
The Cavaliers turned away the Penn State offense through the final 15 minutes of play to preserve the shutout victory and advance in the NCAA Tournament.