It took Morgan Brian all of 23 minutes in a Cavalier uniform to make an impact on the 2011 season.
The true first-year came into U.Va. as one of the most heralded recruits ever. Ranked as the #1 overall recruit in the nation, Brian had a list of accolades that would make any coach smile. Parade All-American. NSCA High School All-American. ESPN RISE High School All-American. Captain of the USA U-20 team. And just over a month ago, she was named the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year.
Tonight, she proved that the awards were legitimate as she controlled the middle of the field for much of the game and scored the Cavaliers' first goal of the 2011 season.
But she wasn't the only star of the game. Sophomore Gloria Douglas knocked in the game-winner in the 89th minute. Douglas took a throw-in inside the box, fought off the defender draped over her back and deposited the ball in the lower right corner of the net.
If the officials kept time-of-possession stats for this game, Virginia would have had a two-to-one advantage over the visiting Mountaineers. The Cavaliers controlled the ball on their offensive end for the first seven minutes, but it was West Virginia that struck first. In the eighth minute. A corner kick ricocheted around in front of the goal and was finally headed in by Erica Henderson.
Virginia would continue to control possession for the next fifteen minutes. They played a solid outside-in game and had several opportunities. In the 23rd minute, Morgan Brian knocked in a Molly Menchel cross to tie the game at one and give the first-year her first career goal as a Cavalier. The score would remain tied at the half.
The Cavaliers continued to dominate possession and chances in the second half, but West Virginia's defenses held up until the final minutes of the game. Douglas took the throw-in from Julia Roberts (how often do you think she gets asked about THE Julia Roberts?) and had a Mountaineer defender blanketing her. The Virginia-friendly crowd was already calling for the ref to blow his whistle when Douglas, with her back to the goal, kicked the ball to her left, spun around and knocked it into the lower right corner of the goal.
WVU would have a few chances to finish tie the game back up, taking two corner kicks and getting off two shots in the final minute and a half. But Chantel Jones made a great save - knocking the ball over the up and over the net - and the Cavalier defense held on for the win.
- Morgan Brian left the game with 15 minutes left with what appeared to be cramps.
- The crowd was listed officially as just shy of 1000 fans, but it seemed like more than that. While there weren't many students (other than some student athletes who popped in), the crowd at Klockner was vocal and supportive
- This was the regular-season debut of the moved ticket lines and entrance for Klockner Stadium. The ticket offices and lines have been moved up the hill to just below the asphalt track that surrounds the stadium. It's a little awkward, but at least its only temporary.