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No. 4 Virginia women’s soccer opens season against Richmond

Hoos get the 2021 season underway amidst high expectations.

Soccer: Women’s College Cup Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia women’s soccer squad kicks off the 2021-22 season tonight, August 19, as they host the visiting Richmond Spiders. Virginia, which was ranked No. 4 in the preseason poll, picked up two exhibition game wins over the last week in preparation for the season. In their first game, the Cavaliers defeated Central Michigan 3-0 behind goals from Alexa Spaanstra, Diana Ordoñez, and Peyton Goldthwaite. Against Michigan, Virginia put up a 1-0 shutout, with Vanderbilt grad transfer Haley Hopkins scoring the lone goal.

“Both games, especially this one today [vs. Michigan], gave us a good idea of where we are, but even more the areas we will need to improve,” Virginia head coach Steve Swanson said after the Hoos’ second exhibition victory. “We will continue to grow together as a team, but as a staff we are excited about the potential of this team.”

Hopkins, who had 34 goals and 12 assists in her four years at Vanderbilt, joins a team with high levels of talent and even higher expectations. The Hoos ended the 2020-21 season in heartbreaking fashion, losing to long-time rival Florida State on penalty kicks in the national semifinals of the College Cup. Ninety-five percent of Virginia’s scoring returns from that squad, headlined by Spaanstra (10 goals) and Ordoñez (12 goals).

Super senior Laurel Ivory is back for one more season in goal, and the Hoos are expected to have another stalwart defense with Lizzy Sieracki, Claire Constant, and Samar Guidry. Ivory had 48 saves with 12 goals against last season and was fantastic in the postseason.

Spaanstra and second year midfielder Lia Godfrey were picked to represent Virginia on the preseason All-ACC team.

Richmond went 1-6-1 last season, with the lone win coming against George Washington on the road. Senior midfielder TJ Anderson returns for the Spiders and had two of Richmond’s six goals last season. Claire Hinkle, the likely starting goalie, started five games last season and allowed seven goals with 17 saves.

The game starts at 7pm and will be available to stream from ACC Network Extra.