The No. 5 Virginia women’s soccer team posted its eighth straight win by blanking NC State 4-0 on Thursday night. The Cavaliers (8-1, 1-0 ACC) won their conference opener for the ninth time in the past 10 years.
Senior forward Caroline Miller scored twice in an 86-second span of the second half to break open the game. It was her seventh career multi-goal game as she became the 13th player in Virginia history to reach the 30-career goal mark.
“We saw a lot of good things in this performance,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “In the first half, we created a lot of chances, but weren’t as sharp as we could be in the final third. We were able to do a better job in the second half taking advantage of those chances and were able to get three goals.”
Virginia led for most of the first half after scoring in the ninth minute of play. Erica Hollenberg’s corner kick was headed in front of the goal by Danielle Colaprico. The ball came to Olivia Brannon, who redirected the ball into the net for her first goal of the season. The Cavaliers took that 1-0 lead into halftime.
Early in the second half, NC State nearly tied the game as Cheyenne Spade got behind the Cavalier defense for a breakaway. Virginia goalkeeper Danielle DeLisle made a sliding save on the play to keep the Cavaliers in the lead. Three minutes later Miller would begin her goal barrage to extend the advantage to 3-0.
In the 56th minute, Colaprico threaded a ball to Miller, who was at the penalty spot but was kept onside by a Wolfpack defender. With only the keeper to beat, she dribbled around the goalie and slotted home her fourth goal of the season. She struck again 86 seconds later as she received a ball from Julia Roberts in the midfield, dribbled to the top of the box before firing in a blast that snuck inside the post for her fifth goal of the year.
“Those few minutes changed the game,” said Swanson. “Danielle came up with a huge save to keep us in the lead. If NC State gets one there, it changes the whole complexion of the game. Then Caroline, who has scored some big goals for us over her career, stepped up and got two quick ones that gave us control of the game.”
Virginia added a final goal in the 73rd minute. Makenzy Doniak’s line-drive cross hit Kate Norbo in the head near the top of the box. The ball floated off Norbo towards goal, hitting the bottom of the crossbar and down over the line for her third goal of the season.
“We know every team in the ACC is good, so we have to be ready every night,” said Miller. “It is always good to start conference play with a win. We have been working hard, building up to this part of the season, so it was good performance in our first ACC game.”
Virginia outshot NC State 22-6 in the contest and had an 8-1 corner kick edge. DeLisle played all 90 minutes in goal for Virginia, recording four saves to post her first career shutout.