CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Senior forward Meghan McCool (Glenside, Pa.) provided yet another game-winning goal for the Cavaliers on Sunday (Nov. 3) as No. 1 Virginia (15-0-3) advanced to the semifinals of the ACC Championships with a 1-0 victory over No. 9 Duke (8-3-7).
Virginia is the three seed in the tournament, while Duke was the six seed. With the win, the Cavaliers will face second-seeded Florida State on Friday (Nov. 8) in the semifinals at WakeMed Park in Cary, N.C. Match times have not been set for the semifinal matches.
Dribbling down the middle of the field in the 55th minute of play, Alexa Spaanstra (Brighton, Mich.) passed the ball out wide to the left for Sydney Zandi (West Chester, Pa.) as she approached the box. Zandi took the pass and sent a one-touch chip to McCool at the penalty mark. The senior forward turned around a defender and volleyed the ball off the bounce over the out-stretched hands of the Duke keeper for the score.
It marked the third consecutive season that McCool has provided the game-winning goal for Virginia in the quarterfinals of the ACC Championships. McCool hit the game-winner against Wake Forest in the 2017 quarterfinal and followed it up with the game-winner against Louisville in last season’s quarterfinal match. The senior forward has now hit a team-leading 14 goals this season, including six game-winning goals with five of them against ACC opponents.
“It was a great crowd and they provided a great atmosphere for our team tonight,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “They were a difference maker for us. You have to give Duke a ton of credit for how hard they played and how well they were organized, especially given their game on Thursday and the travel they had to get to our place. But, I’m really proud of our team for finding a way to win.”
Virginia got the first opportunity of the match in the 12th minute when Anna Sumpter (Charlottesville, Va.) played a through ball ahead to Spaanstra on a run down the left side. Spaanstra dribbled into the box and laid the ball back to Diana Ordonez (Prosper, Texas) at the center of the box for the shot. The freshman forward’s shot was saved by Duke keeper Brooke Heinsohn.
It was one of only three shots for the Cavaliers in the half as Duke held the 5-to-3 shot advantage at the break.
Virginia came out aggressive in the second half with a shot and a corner kick in the first two minutes of play before McCool would find the back of the net 10 minutes into the period. The senior would almost find the net for a second time just 10 minutes later as she intercepted a pass back to the keeper, but a Duke defender slid in as she took her shot and deflected it over the end line.
Duke responded down the stretch, applying pressure to the Cavalier defense, but Virginia responded to turn away the threat each time. Junior keeper Laurel Ivory finished the match with saves on both Duke shots on goal as she posted her 12th shutout of the season.