Virginia nets two in opening minutes of second half to down Wake Forest
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Top-seeded Virginia advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals with 2-0 victory against Wake Forest on a frigid Sunday night at Klöckner Stadium. Sophomore Makenzy Doniak and junior Morgan Brian both scored in the opening minutes of the second half to give the Cavaliers their second quarterfinal ppearance in three seasons.
The Cavaliers (23-1) will host a NCAA quarterfinal for the first time since 1992 when it plays Michigan on Friday. Game time at Klöckner Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
"I don't think people realize how difficult this match was," head coach Steve Swanson said. "Wake is a great team. They are in our conference. They know us. They know our field. They are really organized and very difficult to break down. That was not an easy game. It was one of our best performances of the year, from start to finish. I was happy with how we moved the ball against a quality team that was organized and committed to defending."
Virginia had a majority of the possession throughout the first half and nearly took the lead in the third minute as Doniak hit the post. Although the Cavaliers had all six first-half shots of the game, the contest went to intermission scoreless.
The Cavaliers wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the second half, scoring the go-ahead goal just 30 seconds after the break. First-year Alexis Shaffer hit a cross that hit off the post and came right to Doniak, who tapped into the empty net her team-leading 19th goal of the season. It is the second-highest goal total in school history, one behind the school-record 20-goal season that Caroline Miller had last year.
Virginia doubled the lead in the 49th minute as Shaffer picked up her second assist of the evening. Junior midfielder Danielle Colaprico sent a ball to Shaffer, who delivered a cross that was one-timed in by Brian for her 15th goal of the season. It was Brian's seventh career NCAA tournament goal, tying the UVa record set by Miller.
"I thought we got the ball in good positions in the first half, but we didn't lacked some quality in service and decision making," Swanson said. "We thought Alexis could give us more with her ability to take people on and her crossing, so we started her in the second half and it paid off. That first goal was a turning point in the game."
The two goals were all that Virginia needed as the Cavaliers posted their third consecutive shutout. It was their school-record 16th shutout of the season, breaking the previous mark of 15 shutouts in 2007. For the second game in a row, Virginia allowed only one shot, which came in the 86th minute.
Overall, Virginia outshot Wake Forest 14-1 and had a 5-2 corner-kick advantage. First-year goalkeeper Morgan Stearns didn't need to record a save to post her ninth shutout of the season. Demon Deacon keeper Aubrey Bledsoe made two saves at the other end.
With the victory, Virginia advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the fourth time under Swanson. The Cavaliers will look for their first trip to the Women's College Cup since 1991 when they host Michigan on Friday. The Wolverines topped Notre Dame 1-0 in Ann Arbor on Sunday in the round of 16.