Much like their male counterparts, the women's soccer team utilized strategic penalty kicking (namely, they made all three of their penalty kicks) to defeat St. John's Friday night, thereby advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This is the sixth straight shut-out for the Cavs, and they remain one of six schools to have advanced to the second round every year since the 64-team expansion of the Tournament.
The Virginia women’s soccer team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a penalty kick shootout victory over St. John’s following a 0-0 tie Friday night at Jeffrey Field. Chantel Jones (Midlothian, Va.) made two saves in the shootout, while the Cavaliers made all three of their kicks to advance 3-1.
"I have to give St. John’s a lot of credit, as they were very organized and worked hard," said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. "It is hard to see anyone bow out in penalty kicks, but we can certainly relate to that as that happened to us last week in the ACC Tournament. I feel for them, but also I am proud of our effort tonight."
The Cavaliers had the better of chances in the first half, outshooting the Red Storm 14-3 before the break. However, Virginia couldn’t take advantage of that edge, and the game remained scoreless after 45 minutes. The second half saw the Cavalier pressure continue, but once again Virginia couldn’t convert. The best chance came in the 78th minute when Julia Roberts (Frederick, Md.) hit the underside of the crossbar with her volley attempt. Despite outshooting St. John’s 30-4 over the first 90 minutes, but the game remained scoreless after regulation.
In the first overtime, the Red Storm had their best chance of the game as Kaitlin Haas had a breakaway, but Jones made the save on the one-on-one chance and Raelynne Lee’s rebound chance sailed high. Virginia had the best chance in the second overtime, but Red Storm keeper Kristin Russell made a save on Caroline Miller’s (Rockville, Md.) point-blank shot with 15 seconds remaining.
Virginia led the shootout 3-1 after the first three rounds, as Roberts, Lindsey Miller (Nashua, N.H.) and Kika Toulouse (Arlington, Va.) all converted, while C.J. Ludemann missed the Red Storm’s first attempt wide and Jen Leaverton’s shot in the second round was saved by Jones. With St. John’s needing to convert to open the fourth frame to stay alive in the shootout, Jones made a save on Sarah McGrath’s shot to win the shootout for Virginia.
Overall, Virginia outshot St. John’s 39-6 in the contest and had a 7-1 corner kick edge. Jones needed to make two saves to post her sixth consecutive shutout, while Russell made 10 saves for St. John’s.
"I thought that throughout the game that were the aggressor and had the better of chances," said Swanson. "But soccer can be a cruel game sometimes and the final score doesn’t show the story of the game. The sport at this level has evolved where every game in this tournament you are going to have to grind out a result. We did that today and are moving on."
Jones extended her shutout streak to 581:51, the fourth longest mark in school history. She set the school record of 783:55 in 2007.
"Chantel has been playing great," said Swanson. "We needed her to make a few key saves tonight and she came up big. In the shootout we had a lot of confidence that she was going to make a few saves and if we took care of our chances, we were going to be fine."
With the shootout victory, the Cavaliers remain one of six schools (North Carolina, Notre Dame, Portland, Texas A&M, and UCLA) to advance out of the first round every year since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 2001.
Virginia will meet either Penn State or Colgate in the second round on Sunday. Game time at Jeffrey Field is set for 1 p.m.
VIRGINIA 0, ST. JOHN’S 0 (Virginia advances on penalty kicks 3-1)
St. John’s (13-6-2) 0 0 0 0 (1) - 0
Virginia (9-5-6) 0 0 0 0 (3) - 0
Shots: UVa 39, STJ 6
Corners: UVa 7, STJ 1
Saves: UVa 2 (Jones 2), STJ 11 (Russell 10, Team 1)
Fouls: UVa 3, STJ 7
Weather: 55 degrees, overcast