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Women’s soccer returns as former Virginia players shine in NWSL Challenge Cup

Nine Cavaliers taking part in month-long tournament.

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2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Day 1 Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Women’s soccer returned this past weekend as the NWSL Challenge Cup got underway in Utah. It was the first professional league in the United States to resume play after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic overtook the nation. The NWSL Challenge Cup is an eight-team, 23-game tournament that will span about a month.

Nine former Virginia Women’s Soccer players made a roster for the event that will air on CBS All Access (live) and CBS Sports Network (re-air).

For the first game, the North Carolina Courage — two-time reigning NWSL champs — squared off with the Portland Thorns. The only Wahoo on either roster was Becky Sauerbrunn, an Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup Champion. Sauerbrunn got the start for the Thorns and recorded one shot, committed no fouls, and registered an 86% passing accuracy rate in a 2-1 loss.

In the second game of the event, the Washington Spirit took on the Chicago Red Stars. Four Virginia alums are on the roster for Chicago, led by Morgan Gautrat (formerly Brian). Zoe Morse got the start along Gautrat, and Dani Colaprico and Makenzy Doniak were available off the bench for the Red Stars.

Gautrat, who surprised her husband Fabrice Gautrat with her married name on the back of her jersey, had a fantastic game. She finished with Chicago’s lone goal of the game as the Red Stars also fell 2-1. In addition to the goal, Gautrat had a 90.6% passing accuracy with 46 touches, four tackles, and only one foul committed.

Doniak entered the game in the 73rd minute, with Colaprico coming in for Gautrat with four minutes left in regulation.

Meghan McCool lined up against the Red Stars as a bench player for the Washington Spirit, but did not enter the game.

The three remaining Wahoos take the pitch for the first time on Tuesday (June 30) morning. Britt Ratcliffe, who plays for the Utah Royals, will face Veronica Latsko and the Houston Dash at 12:30 PM (ET) on CBS All Access. Kristen McNabb, defender for the OL Reign out of Tacoma, will square off against Sky Blue FC at 10 PM (ET) on the same streaming service.

The Orlando Pride, which is the home for Emily Sonnett, Courtney Petersen, and Phoebe McClernan, had to withdraw from the event after several members tested positive for coronavirus.

You can check out the full event schedule here. If you are interested in signing up for CBS All Access so you can watch the rest of the tournament, click here.

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