The University of Miami women’s soccer team defeated the No. 2-ranked Virginia Cavaliers in a 2-1 thriller on Thursday night at Cobb Stadium.
“I’m very proud of them for being controlled and composed and under pressure,” Head Coach Mary Frances-Monroe said after the game.
The Canes (6-4-0, 1-1-0 ACC) scored twice in the first half to cement a two-goal lead that the Cavaliers (8-2-0, 1-1-0 ACC) would not be able to fully overcome.
Senior forward Gracie Lachowecki struck first in the 21st minute to give her side a 1-0 lead. Lachowecki received a pass from junior forward Ronnie Johnson, seared up the right sideline, deked a defender in the box and drilled a goal short side.
“At first I was actually going to shoot it from the outside,” Lachowecki said. Instead, she decided to cut across, giving her a wide-open net in which all she had to do was “place it in there.”
The goal was the 19th of Lachowecki’s career, putting her in sole possession of sixth place on Miami’s all-time goals list.
With three minutes to go in the half, Virginia was charged with a handball in their own box. This gave Miami a penalty kick. Freshman forward Kristina Fisher made it count with a soft strike into the low corner for her seventh goal of the season. Fisher cited a definite confidence boost after her goal as the team headed into halftime with a two-goal lead.
Action fluctuated back and forth in the second half that culminated in heavy sustained pressure by Virginia in the final ten minutes of the match. The Cavaliers finally found goal in the 86th minute, cutting the Canes’s lead to one.
Miami’s confidence never faltered.
“There was a goal scored against us but we were still winning, and we just had to put in our fight,” Frances-Monroe said.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce put in a valiant fight of her own and recorded a season-high save count (6) to carry her team to victory.
“You have to focus on every single player and every touch they take, so you can stay in the game,” Tullis-Joyce said about dealing with the late pressure from Virginia.
The team was all smiles after taking down the second-ranked team in the nation, something Kristina Fisher said the team knew it could do.
“We were confident in our abilities,” Fisher said.
The Hurricanes next take on Syracuse on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Cobb Stadium.