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Virginia tops Virginia Tech in women's soccer

Virginia tops Virginia Tech in women's soccer

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MATT RILEY | UVa

Virginia’s Sydney Zandi (2) dribbles down the field in front of Emmalee McCarter during Saturday’s women’s soccer game in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers beat the Hokies 3-1 in the season debut for both teams.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Fans trickled into Klöckner Stadium on Saturday night for the first UVa sporting event since March. Unlike usual fall seasons, fans wore face masks and sat apart from their fellow Wahoo enthusiasts.

The environment surrounding the match, which UVa won 3-1, felt unusual.

Nine minutes into the match, the UVa sports world returned to its natural place.

Sophomore Diana Ordonez took a beautiful pass from freshman Samar Guidry and placed the ball perfectly above Virginia Tech goalkeeper Alia Skinner in the top left corner of the net. The fans in attendance roared, and a group of roughly 15 guys started running on the hill on the far side of the field.

The match atmosphere felt abnormal in many ways, but Ordonez scoring is about as it normal as it gets for UVa fans. She led the Wahoos with 15 goals in her 19 matches last season, showcasing elite scoring ability for a freshman.

A quarantine period and an offseason without scrimmages didn’t stop Ordonez from picking up where she left off last season.

“We’re always a team that tries to get on the board early,” Ordonez said. “We want to get the front foot on teams and set the tone for the game and let them know who’s gonna run the game.”

Once the action began, it felt like a typical soccer match. Both teams were filled with energy in the early going. The excitement of the Hokies waned toward the end of the first half, however, as the Cavaliers started to dominate the action.

UVa nearly increased its lead to 2-0 when Ashlynn Serepca rattled a ball off the crossbar in the final 15 minutes of the first half. The Hokies escaped the half without allowing any additional goals, but it was clear UVa controlled the match.

Steve Swanson’s club recorded 10 shots in the first half, while the Hokies mustered just one.

Prior to the match, roughly half the UVa team kneeled during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the U.S.

Moments later, every player and coach on both teams kneeled for an “ACC unity statement.” The brief statement spoken over the loudspeaker was followed by a moment of silence.

With the Hokies trailing 1-0, they increased the urgency on offense in the opening 20 minutes of the second half. The urgency led to chances to tie the game, but it also created quality counterattacks from the Cavaliers.

Virginia Tech’s closest opportunity to tying the match came in the 60th minute. The Hokies appeared to work a pass through the defense, leading to a relatively uncontested goal. Unfortunately for the Hokies, an offside call erased the goal.

Aggressive play from the Hokies eventually led to a goal, but the efforts didn’t pay off soon enough.

Alexa Spaanstra knocked home a goal off a corner kick in the 78th minute for Virginia, and the Cavaliers quickly added to their 2-0 lead with a beautiful breakaway in the 82nd minute.

Freshman Lia Godfrey then made it 3-0 when she raced down the field, tracking the pass down in the middle of the box and slamming it into the back left portion of the net.

Tech ensured it wouldn’t be shutout when Emily Gray put a penalty kick past Laurel Ivory in the 84th minute. But the classy goal from Gray wasn’t enough to spark a comeback.

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