The second-ranked Virginia women’s soccer team reached the NCAA Round of 16 for the eighth consecutive season with a 6-1 second round win over Rutgers Friday night at Klöckner Stadium. It was a record-setting night for the Cavaliers, who posted six unanswered goals to come back after giving up an early goal to the Scarlet Knights.
Virginia will meet ACC rival Duke in the round of 16 on Sunday. Game time at Klöckner Stadium is 4 p.m.
Caroline Miller had two goals and an assist to lead the six-goal assault, setting Virginia’s single-season goals and points records in the process. Danielle Colaprico had a goal and two assists, while Makenzy Doniak and Kaili Torres each had a goal and an assist. Kate Norbo added a goal as the Cavaliers had their highest scoring game of the season.
“We are happy to be moving on to the round of 16,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “It was a good response to giving up an early goal. We stuck to the game plan, executed well and moved the ball well. We scored some nice goals tonight.”
The Scarlet Knights came out strong and struck for the game’s first goal in the eighth minute. A loose ball in the box fell to the feet of Jonelle Filigno and the Canadian Olympian made a move around the keeper and placed the ball into the net for her 15th goal of the season.
Virginia answered with three goals in a nine-minute span midway through the first half to turn the early deficit into a 3-1 lead, which was the margin at intermission.
The Cavaliers drew even in the 13th minute after Miller’s through ball found the far-side run of Doniak, who poked the ball past the on-rushing keeper for her 10th goal of the season. It marks the third consecutive season Virginia has had two double-digit goal scorers.
Colaprico gave the Cavaliers the lead in the 20th minute with her fifth goal of the season. She stole a ball in the midfield, dribbled to the top of the box and fired in a shot inside the post.
Just 93 seconds later Virginia struck again to extend its lead to 3-1. Morgan Brian threaded a pass to Colaprico, who found Miller unmarked at the far post. Miller tapped in the pass to notch a goal for the seventh consecutive game, setting a new school record.
Miller struck again in the 63rd minute, posting her fifth multi-goal game of the season. Colaprico’s pass set her up in the box and the ACC Offensive Player of the Year made a move before placing a shot inside the far post for her 19th goal of the season. Miller’s 19 goals and 45 points are new school single-season records, eclipsing the 18-goal, 41-point season of Angela Hucles in 1997. Miller also moved into second place on Virginia’s career goal list with 44 career tallies.
“I think we are playing our best soccer of the season right now,” said Miller. “We are peaking at the right time. We are moving the ball well, creating a lot of chances and just playing well as a group. We have been playing with a lot of confidence over the past few games.”
The goal barrage continued in the 77th minute as Doniak made a move to the end line and sent a cross to the middle of the box. Torres one-timed the cross off the crossbar, but the ball bounced down over the line before the Rutgers keeper could save it and Torres had her fifth goal of the season.
Norbo closed out the scoring in the 87th minute with her sixth goal of the season. Torres dribbled through the Scarlet Knight defense on the flank before finding Norbo wide open in the middle of the field. She fired a shot from 25 yards that was a line-drive just under the bar to make the final margin 6-1. It was the Cavaliers’ 65th goal of the season, a new school record, topping the 62 goals scored by Virginia’s 2004 ACC Championship squad.
“Our attack was the difference tonight,” said Swanson. “We wanted to use the flank and wanted to switch the point of attack and we did both of those very well. Our ball movement and possession was key tonight because they are so good on counters. After that first goal, we were able to limit their opportunities because of what we were doing offensively.”
The Cavaliers recorded a season-high number of shots, outshooting the Scarlet Knights 30-3 for the game, including 16-0 in the second half. Virginia also had an 8-1 corner kick advantage. Danielle DeLisle didn’t make a save in 90 minutes in goal for the Cavaliers, while Emmy Simpkins made eight saves at the other end for Rutgers.
The victory tied the school record for wins in a season, matching the 18 wins by the 1990 and 2005 editions of the Cavaliers.
Virginia will meet Duke in the round of 16 on Sunday. The Cavaliers won the regular season meeting between the teams 1-0 on Sept. 30 as Doniak scored in the final minutes. Virginia is unbeaten against Duke in the regular season since 2004, but the Blue Devils have won both NCAA meetings during that span, in the 2004 second round and 2008 round 16 at Klöckner Stadium.
“You could put this game (Virginia-Duke) in the final and no one would be surprised,” said Swanson. “Duke is a great team, we know them well and they know us well. It is going to be a competitive game. At this point, there are 16 teams left and whoever you draw is going to be a quality team. Hopefully we can keep getting the chances we have been generating lately.”