The Virginia women’s soccer team isn’t used to being the underdog, but they’re playing the part well. The Hoos are moving on to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament after picking up a 2-0 victory over the twelfth-seeded BYU Cougars. Alexa Spaanstra’s incredible hot streak continued as the junior forward scored both goals for the Cavaliers. She now has four of Virginia’s five goals so far this tournament.
Spaanstra scored her first of the game at the 34 minute mark, giving the Cavaliers a 1-0 advantage heading into the break Her second came at 64 minutes, giving Virginia a little more cushion.
In goal, Virginia got a career-high 11 saves from Laurel Ivory as she smothered everything BYU sent in her general vicinity. Ivory, who missed the 2019 NCAA tournament after suffering a broken jaw in the ACC tourney title game, shattered her previous career-high of six saves and faced a career-high 19 shots from the Cougars. With the victory, Ivory notched her 50th career win as a Cavalier.
Defensively, the Hoos were fantastic. BYU entered the game third nationally with 3.13 goals per game and were first in the country with 47 total goals this season. After an early flurry that saw the Cougars take five of their 19 shots over the first 20 minutes of the game, Virginia settled in to make things difficult for BYU.
“This was a really good BYU team we played. They hadn’t been shut out all year, so our defense deserves a lot of credit,” Virginia head coach Steve Swanson said after the game. “Our whole team effort was great today. We have a lot of respect for BYU. They played a great match and had a great season. We did the things we needed to do to win the game and we converted our chances. At this point and in this tournament, that’s what you have to do.”
Virginia advanced to the second round after a 3-1 win over SIU-Edwardsville on Wednesday evening. SIUE took a 1-0 lead, but the Cavaliers responded with three straight to secure the spot in today’s game.
Next up, Virginia will face Rice after the Owls surprisingly knocked off 5-seed West Virginia. The game is scheduled for Wednesday, May 5, at 9pm and will take place at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.