WACO, Texas –The season came to an end for the Cavaliers in the Round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday (Nov. 18), as No. 12 Virginia (16-5-1) dropped a 2-1 decision at No. 11 Baylor (20-5-0) at the Betty Lou Mays Soccer Stadium.
Virginia was the No. 3 seed in the region, while Baylor was the region’s No. 2 seed.
Meghan McCool (Glenside, Pa.) provided the lone goal for the Cavaliers, an equalizer in the 17th minute of play, but Virginia couldn’t find a second answering goal after the home team pushed back in front early in the second half.
“I think we’re all very gutted,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “You look at the game and you can pick out about five minutes in the first half and 40 seconds in the second half that were the difference in the game. From our perspective, I thought the effort was there. That’s a tough game to lose.
“Credit Baylor. They made the most of their chances. We had enough chances there and did enough really good things in the second half to get the next one, but we didn’t have enough quality when we needed it. That was the difference.”
Baylor struck first, converting a header from Julie James off a corner. James slipped her header in past the far post in the sixth minute of play. It was the third in a flurry of shots from the Bears in the opening minutes of the match.
The Cavaliers hit the equalizer in the 17th minute when McCool converted on a breakaway opportunity. The junior forward got her chance as she approached the top of the box and fired her shot, pulling the Cavaliers even with the homestanding Bears.
Baylor almost converted on a second goal in the 28th minute, but Ivory made a diving save, punching the ball out wide to keep the score knotted at a goal each. It would remain tied at the break.
Baylor took the lead back in the 54th minute of play, striking on a counter. Raegan Padgett sent in a cross just outside the box down the right side to Kennedy Brown on a run inside the six. Brown headed the ball in past the near post to put the Bears on top 2-1.
The Cavaliers possessed the ball for the bulk of the final 25 minutes of play, pressing the attack with several shots and dangerous possessions in the box. After taking the lead in the 54th minute, Baylor took only one more shot in the half and didn’t have a shot through the final 26 minutes of play.
Despite the 6-to-1 advantage in shots for the final 36 minutes of play, Virginia could not find a second equalizing goal as Baylor took the victory.
• Meghan McCool scored her ninth goal of the season – tying for the team lead on the year
• It marked the 14th consecutive season for Virginia to reach the Round of 16 in the Tournament
• The streak of 14 consecutive appearances in the Round of 16 is the NCAA’s longest active streak
• UVA’s 25th straight NCAA Tournament appearance is the NCAA’s second-longest active streak
• UVA’s 31st NCAA Tournament appearance is the second-most of any D1 NCAA women’s program