Virginia women's soccer College Cup streak came to an end. The Cavaliers once again suffered penalty heart break this year, losing to Rutgers 7-6 on Friday in the NCAA quarter finals. This is the second time UVA lost in PKs this season, losing to Florida State 7-6 in the ACC Tournament final.
“Rutgers gets a lot of numbers behind the ball and they’re a pretty physical team,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “We knew this would be the kind of game that transpired today. We didn’t move the ball as well as we should have or as quickly as we needed to change the point."
The Scarlet Knights boasts one of the best defense in the country, and they proved their pedigree. A Cavalier team that scores an average three goals a game did not record one goal after 110 minutes of play. In the end Rutgers managed to force the game into penalties. Jessie Ferrari (who Virginia subbed in for the penalty kicks) managed to save the first two penalties, however, the visitors came back to hit seven consecutive penalties, while their keeper,Casey Murphy saved Kristen McNabb's kick and UVA striker Makenzy Doniak hit the cross bar. In the end Murphy proved to be the hero for the visitors, stopping Tina Iordanou's penalty and sealing the win.
“Rutgers has been a difficult team to break down all year. You can’t look at it as the penalty kick contest was the reason we lost. We had 110 minutes to break them down and we didn’t do that. They’ve been difficult to break down all year and you have to give them their due. They were organized and limited our chances," Swanson added.
It was an even contest from the start. After trading a few passes at midfield, Rutgers was the first team to take a crack at goal. Samantha Valliant found some room in the box, but UVA keeper Morgan Stearns was there to gobble it up before much damage. It took a lot longer for UVA to have its first opportunity, however. Veronica Latsko recorded Virginia's first shot of the match when she blasted one wide after 28 minutes of play. That shot seemed to open things up a little for the Cavaliers. The 'Hoos were able to follow that up with another good chance, when Ayan Adu, on her first touch since being subbed in, struck one towards goal, but once again it was wide.
The 'Hoos and the Scarlet Knights went into the break deadlocked at 0 with the Cavaliers out-shooting the visitors 4-2. In the second half, the Cavs continued to struggle offensively.
Rutgers was on its back foot early on in the second half, but the Scarlet Knights remained disciplined. Murphy also did a great job keeping the Cavs at bay in the net. In arguably one of the better chances of the half for the Wahoos, Meghan Cox blasted one from inside the area, but Murphy leaped and punched it over the bar to keep the game knotted at 0 with 30 minutes to go in the match.
Although the Cavs out shot Rutgers 4-1 in the second half, the Scarlet Knights had the best shot of the game with four minutes left. Erika Skorski found some space in the box and found herself one-on-one with Stearns, but UVA's keeper made herself big and was able to keep to block what would have been the late winner.
Doniak would have two more chances to secure the win for the 'Hoos in over time but none hit the target.
In the end UVA's season comes to the end one game shy of the College Cup. The 'Hoos have not won in shoot out since 2009, when the Wahoos knocked out St. John's in the NCAA first round.