The scheduling gods conspired against my seeing this game, so I am gratified and happy to welcome the first-hand observations of Hoos Place friend, Jim Bond, in my stead. Take it away, Jim!
The Hoos keep finding ways to win, but the advent of ACC play has made things more difficult. The Cavaliers were clearly focused on revenge after last year’s debacle in the monsoon, but the Hokies are never an easy opponent. The ability to “win ugly” is not a trait that has characterized UVa in recent years.
Virginia 2 Virginia Tech 0
- UVa played cloak and dagger with Diana Ordonez and Claire Constant, dressing them but keeping them out of warm ups. As soon as the game started, both warmed up in earnest and it was clear they were going to play some part.
- VT read the Wake Forest manual and defended deep, looking to break on the counter. They certainly frustrated UVa at times, but never really showed a consistent offensive threat.
- Tech’s Emily Gray went down early in this game with what looked like a leg injury under a pretty innocuous challenge. There were other more robust challenges during the course of this game. I hope she is OK. You never want to see injuries. The referee was inconsistent all night.
- The Cavs really struggled to get their playmakers on the ball in dangerous areas and I fear this theme may recur during the course of the year. Teams now seem willing to let central defenders Zoe Morse, Phoebe McClernon and Talia Staude have the ball while they drop off and compress space. This does 2 things:
1. It emphasizes the need for a higher quality entry pass to the midfielders or a decent longer ball, and
2. It sucks our central defenders higher up the field and raises the stakes if they turn it over.
- I don’t think McClernon is a natural right back and her distribution is that of a center back. The re-introduction of Constant on the right brings the right wing back into the game more whether that be Rebecca Jarrett, Cam Lexow or Ash Serepca. UVa NEED the wide players to fire or they are not going to go as far as the talent they have. This game was noteworthy in that we were as impotent out wide as I have seen all year.
- UVa are not good in the air. VT won the majority of the aerial battles. They lived off mistakes and were able to get at least three credible chances including one that rattled the post with Ivory well beaten.
- Both goals were off somewhat broken plays. Meg McCool took hers very well, showing fine composure. Ordonez has a knack of shooting across the keeper and finding side netting. She did that again today. First game back ,so let’s see how she recovers for Duke. She is 5' 11" but does not really play like one would expect. She does not seem comfortable back to goal and does not have the pace to be a get in behind type. She does capitalize on half chances which is great. For UVA to make a serious run they will have to get Spaanstra more involved. One way is for the central striker to hold up the ball allowing Spaanstra to run beyond or pick it up in that hole. I’m not sure I see a striker on the UVa team who can do that vs the better backlines. We shall see.
- I’m hoping that Duke actually try and play on Sunday because that should lead to a good game. Watching teams park the bus is getting boring.
Edit: I was able to see the second half on NBC Sports Washington channel, but it must be copy protected, and I was unable to record highlights. So, you’ll just have to make do with UVa’s twitter feed: