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Virginia women's soccer team tops SIU Edwardsville in NCAA Tournament opener

Virginia women's soccer team tops SIU Edwardsville in NCAA Tournament opener

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The Virginia women's soccer team rallied from an early 1-0 deficit with three unanswered goals to earn a 3-1 victory over SIU-Edwardsville in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday night at WakeMed Soccer Park.

“Any time you can get a win in the NCAA Tournament it’s a good thing," Virginia coach Steve Swanson said. "Obviously, it’s just about advancing now. It was good to get this game under our belt. They’re a good team and are very competitive. We expected a difficult match and we got it. I was happy with how we came back. We got a better second half and did a good job of closing out the game.”

SIUE struck in the 11th minute when Maria Haro scored following a throw in. The Cougars took the throw in deep in the offensive third and the ball was flicked across the box with a header from Megan Keever to Haro behind the defense. She then sent the ball in across the face of the goal past the far post for the goal.

It would be the only shot of the half and one of only two in the game for the Cougars.

Virginia found the equalizer in the 41st minute when Alexa Spaanstra fired a shot near the penalty mark that skipped into the goal past the near post. The Cavaliers took the lead in the 57th minute when Spaanstra converted a penalty kick after being taken down from behind on a breakaway in the box for her second goal of the night.

“Alexa’s been great all year," Swanson said. "We needed her to step up and she caused problems all night. Her consistent running and movement off the ball is huge for us. Getting the two goals, creating the penalty kick and finishing it and getting the equalizer was huge. That’s how she’s been since she got here. She’s been an impact player for us.”

Virginia's third goal came a little more than 10 minutes later when Talia Staude headed one in off a corner kick in the 69th minute.

The Cavaliers closed strong, finishing off a dominant second half that saw SIUE get only one shot which came 31 seconds into the period.

Virginia advances to face 12th-seeded BYU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The game is set for a 3 p.m. kick on Saturday at WakeMed Soccer Park.

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