The Virginia women’s soccer team is heading to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals after a commanding 3-0 win over Rice in the Sweet 16. Second year forward Diana Ordoñez scored all three of the Cavalier goals, and the defense kept the Owls off the board for their second-straight shutout in tournament action.
With the win, Virginia ensured that all five ACC teams selected for the women’s tournament would move on to the Elite Eight. No. 1 seed Florida State, No. 2 seed North Carolina, No. 9 seed Duke, and No. 14 seed Clemson are all still alive The Hoos are now the lone unseeded team remaining in the tournament, and this is the first time since 2015 that Virginia has made the quarterfinals.
Virginia ended an 11-game unbeaten streak for Rice, and the three goals scored were an impressive feat considering the Owls had only allowed 11 goals in 17 games to that point.
“It was great to get the result, but I thought our performance was great from start to finish. Rice is a good team. They were true to themselves. They’ve had a tremendous season and beaten a lot of good teams,” Virginia head coach Steve Swanson said after the game. “For us to win as convincingly as we did; we executed our game plan really well and controlled most of the match. It wasn’t as easy as the score line. They are a good team that is very capable of counters and getting goals on set plays. We knew it would be a tough match and it was.”
Things got off to a slow start as the 9pm start time pushed to 10:15pm thanks to the Clemson-UCLA game going to penalty kicks before a thunderstorm forced a lightning delay.
Once the Hoos were able to take the pitch, they kept the pressure on Rice’s defense nonstop. It wasn’t until the 37th minute, however, that Virginia was able to convert as Ordoñez confidently knocked home a penalty kick to give the Hoos a 1-0 lead. She drew the foul after being dragged down in the box by a Rice defender as she looked to turn towards goal.
Virginia took the same score into the halftime break, but Ordoñez doubled up her goal count with a header in the 68th minute. She got her third of the game in the 82nd minute after a gorgeous Lia Godfrey strike went off the crossbar — she had hit each post on previous attempts in the game — ricocheted into the box for a finish.
“It was a huge team effort,” Ordoñez said post-match. “I think we executed the game plan exactly the way that the coaches wanted us to [execute it].”
Next up, Virginia faces 4-seed TCU on Sunday, May 9, at 5pm. TCU needed penalty kicks to escape 12-seed Georgetown, and the Hoos feel like they have something to prove as they continue on in the tournament as an unseeded underdog.
“We’re excited. We’re ready,” Ordoñez stated. “I think we’ve made a statement, especially winning by a lot in the Sweet 16. We’re just ready to take on the next opponent.”
Here is the updated bracket: