CHARLOTTESVILLE — Virginia and Virginia Tech entered Thursday’s match at Klöckner Stadium as two of the best women’s soccer teams in the country.
The ensuing battle didn’t disappoint.
No. 1 UVa (9-0-1, 1-0-1 ACC) used goals from its two leading scorers to pull out a 2-0 victory over No. 16 Tech (9-1, 1-1 ACC) in a physical rivalry match. Last season’s competitive contest in Blacksburg featured 21 fouls before the Hokies came out on top, 1-0.
Meghan McCool, a senior, and other returning players wanted revenge after last season’s hard-fought loss to the Hokies.
“I think there was a little chip on our shoulder after that,” McCool said. “That was a tough game. It was a monsoon. I think they were very hype after that game. They put out a video. We had a little edge to us.”
While the weather was perfect this time around, the physical play carried over from last season. There were 30 total fouls and three yellow cards. All three yellow cards and 18 of the fouls came in the second half as the intensity skyrocketed following a scoreless first half.
“It’s a rivalry match,” Virginia Tech head coach Charles Adair said. “When Virginia and Virginia Tech get together, it’s going to be a physical game. I thought it was a great effort by both teams.”
McCool’s goal in the 71st minute put Virginia on top after the Wahoos spent the previous 25 minutes of the second half on the attack. Freshman sensation Diana Ordonez, who celebrated her birthday, returned from injury and found the back of the net in the 84th minute to put the match out of reach. She’s up to 10 goals through just seven games of action.
The Cavaliers dominated possession, especially in the second half. Virginia tallied five shots and six corner kicks in the final 45 minutes. The unrelenting pressure eventually paid dividends for UVa when McCool found the net in the 71st minute.
Ashlynn Serepca stole a Virginia Tech pass and pushed the ball toward Ordonez, who intentionally let the ball pass her. Serepca’s pass found McCool open with one defender to beat. McCool calmly sidestepped the Virginia Tech defense and knocked a one-hopper into the right side of the net.
“I thought Meghan McCool was superb in the second half,” Virginia head coach Steve Swanson said. “I think she kind of willed us to victory.”
The Hokies didn’t lie down after UVa’s goal.
Just a few minutes after the Cavaliers scored, Virginia Tech’s Lilly Weber rifled a shot that beat UVa’s Laurel Ivory, but the shot slammed off the left post, bouncing away from the net. The Hokies weren’t able to get a scoring chance of that quality for the rest of the night.
About 10 minutes later, Ordonez tied in the NCAA lead with her 10th goal of the season. She took a pass that led her into the left side of the box and used her left foot to rip the ball into the lower right portion of the goal, past Virginia Tech’s diving goalkeeper Mandy McGlynn.
“You can see her quality, and you can see what goals do,” Swanson said. “That effectively killed the game there.”
While McGlynn yielded two goals for Virginia Tech, the senior posted three first-half saves to keep the match scoreless at halftime, and she played through a minor injury at the beginning of the second half.
The Hokies struggled to possess the ball for much of the match, but the defense held strong to keep them in it until Ordonez added an insurance goal with six minutes left in the match.
“We tried to keep ourselves in it on the road,” Adair said. “I was pleased with our team’s performance.”