The Miami Hurricanes came out wearing Susan Komen pink. It would pretty much be their highlight for the game. Virginia scored two minutes in, and it was game over. Of course, we still had to play another 88 more minutes.
For the game, Coach Steve Swanson had the Cavaliers come out in a 3 – 4 – 3 formation, but it is debatable as to whether we can even consider this a lineup change. Left back Courtney Petersen just moved further up the field into midfield where she pretty much occupied the same space as left midfielder Alexa Spaanstra. Miami, currently sitting 13th in the 14-team ACC (Georgia Tech doesn’t field a women’s soccer team), was never going to score, so the back line trio of Talia Staude, Zoe Morse and Phoebe McClernon was sufficient on the night. Maybe if Spaanstra had stationed herself more centrally this lineup tinkering would seem like more of a big deal, but for the most part, it didn’t really matter who played where.
The fans at Cobb Stadium had barely gotten settled when Anna Sumpter played a slow, looping cross into the box, one that seemed destined to end up safely in the Miami keeper’s hands. Except that Diana Ordonez blitzed in from nowhere, got the slightest of contact on the ball, and headed in for a goal. It was a brutal punishment of an error on the keeper’s part.
For the remainder of the game, Miami was in damage-control mode and the Cavaliers were than happy to oblige, even if they were not particularly threatening for the remainder of the half. Virginia was sloppy and everyone looked off. And we were careless. At about the 30-minute mark Virginia had more offsides than shoots on goal, and this is something of a concerning trend for UVa. Most UVa offsides violations are just careless and evidence of a lack in concentration or an unwillingness to get back onsides when retreating up the pitch. Anna Sumpter’s offsides call nullifying her goal against Duke is one thing: she was trying to latch onto a Courtney Petersen cross and was a half-step offsides. This is hustle. The 8 offsides vs Wake Forest? This is a team just not caring. I’m surprised Swanson allows such lazy behavior on the pitch.
The second half started much like the first as Spaanstra scored four minutes in. An overwhelming percentage of goals are scored in the first 5 and last 5 minutes of each half, so Miami falling asleep again is understandable. But it’s not good soccer. Diana Ordonez scored a second goal 8 minutes later to finish the scoring. All that was left was for Swanson to empty his bench, except that he didn’t, really. At least, not to the level that he’s done in the past. I think he’s aware of this, and he’s hiding it. UVa used to list the minutes played each game by each player, but the team no longer lists minutes played in their stats. Minutes are aggregated on the team stat page, but on a game-by-game basis? Not so much. Spaanstra got a slightly longer break than usual, as did McCool, but Petersen and Torres still played too much for my way of thinking. I don’t know if this is going to come back to bite the Cavs on the butt.
Coming Up: This was the first game of a long, three game, nine day, road trip. It will culminate next Sunday at Florida State, but in between, the Cavs travel to NC State for a Wednesday matchup with the Wolfpack. My attention is firmly on FSU. But I’m a fan. I can do that. Hopefully the women will be more focused on NC State than they were on Miami, because, well, NC State is going to be more of a test.