Virginia’s quest for the program’s first ever women’s soccer national championship came to an abrupt end on Saturday night, as the Cavaliers were defeated by No. 4 seed BYU 1-0 at Klockner Stadium in the third round of the NCAA Championship.
After scoring eight goals through the first two rounds of the tournament, the UVA offense was stumped by the BYU defense and held without a goal for just the third time this season.
Virginia outshot BYU 15-12, but only three of those shots were on goal, with each being saved by BYU goalkeeper Cassidy Smith.
After a scoreless first half, the Cougars scored the lone goal of the match less than ninety seconds into the second half. Cameron Tucker made a run up the left side before dribbling inside and taking a brilliant right-footed shot that curved around the outstretched arm of Laurel Ivory and into the top right corner of the goal.
Virginia did well not to panic and continued to operate its offense with poise and pace, earning five corner kicks in the second half. Corner kicks were 8-4 in favor of Virginia in the match. As time drained off of the clock, however, the Cavaliers tightened up and you could tell that the Hoos were beginning to become more frantic and desperate in their play.
After Tucker’s goal, BYU was content to sit most of its players on the back line and focus on ensuring that UVA did not get any solid looks from inside the box. Diana Ordonez, who had scored three goals in two NCAA tournament matches so far, was held to just one shot, as she was blanketed by multiple defenders every time Virginia tried to cross the ball into the box.
Haley Hopkins took five shots, with one going on goal, and Lia Godfrey had six shots and two shots on goal, but none found their mark.
Despite BYU playing a little more passively, the Cougars were still able to generate some dangerous offensive chances in the second half as UVA played more aggressive and left its defensive line more exposed. Laurel Ivory made two saves in the second half and four in the match to keep the deficit at just one goal.
In the end, Virginia was not able to break through BYU’s solid defense and time expired on the game and on UVA’s season. This seemed like Virginia’s best chance yet to win a national championship, as the Cavaliers returned several key contributors from the team that went to the College Cup semifinals last spring. To see their season come up short of a return to the College Cup is certainly painful for the Hoos, but there is no doubt that Steve Swanson will have the Cavaliers back and competing at a high level next year and beyond as Virginia continues its quest for a national championship. For now, this loss brings to an end another fantastic UVA women’s soccer season that saw the Hoos win the program’s third ACC regular season championship. It was certainly a season to be proud of.