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Women's Soccer

No McClernon. No Win.

Posted on November 23, 2019 by Val Prochaska.

The season had evolved into one of such promise:  the women had been the #1 team in the country for 8 weeks; five members were All-Americans; a 19 – game undefeated streak; just 2 goals conceded in the ACC regular season; and Diana Ordonez blazing her way into the national consciousness.  Adding to the 14-season streak of reaching the Sweet 16 seemed all but assured.  But the promise fizzled out as the Cavaliers ultimately couldn’t overcome the injuries to Courtney Petersen and Laurel Ivory and whatever the hell it was that happened to Phoebe McClernon.

I was recruited to play at Radford.  My two favorite cousins went to Radford. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the school, moreso than any other Virginia school.  The Virginia women did not get the memo about my closeted sympathies, pummeling the Highlanders in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the 3 – 0 score line indicates.

 

Virginia faced off against North Carolina for the ACC title missing two starters and a key reserve.  UNC scored in the opening minutes of play.  It looked bleak for the women, but as I have written before, these women do not give up.

 

Last year Florida State ended Virginia's ACC hopes, but this year the Cavaliers returned the favor, defeating the Seminoles 2 - 1 in overtime to advance to the title game vs UNC.  The game was ragged as Virginia may have lost another starter, Anna Sumpter, who was felled in the first half.  When it mattered, Becca Jarrett "realized she had a left foot," and scored the game winner.

 

It was looking dire for Virginia with 12 minutes left in the game and the Cavaliers holding onto a 1 – 0 lead versus Duke.  Senior defender Phoebe McClernon came off with what I can only suspect was a knock.  We were already missing sophomore Claire Constant, and in the game senior Courtney Petersen had limped off the field, unable to put any weight on her left foot.  Our two outside backs were now Ashlynn Serepca and Alexa Spaanstra.  You read that correctly.  A pair of strikers were trying to contain a Duke team that would outshoot us on the night.

The women were rained out last night at Syracuse. We played in a torrential downpour, and the game was delayed mid-game for over 30 minutes, last year vs Tech, so this field was apparently flooded. Simply flooded. The game will not be rescheduled since the ACC tourney starts on Sunday. A major case of mismanagement by Syracuse as last night was "supposed" to be Senior Night. And now they don't get it. And Syracuse sucked this year, so that was their last game of the season. What a downer.

Virginia entered the contest sporting their 3rd-longest shutout streak, needing just one more scoreless game to record their second-longest such streak ever.  Boston College snapped the streak with about 20 minutes to go.

Did it matter?  Not so much, no.

 

A year ago, in writing about the 1st round of the ACC playoffs, against this same Louisville team, I headlined my game report:  Meghan McCool Makes Louisville Her Bitches.  Well, I could write the same about this regular season game.  McCool struck twice, Louisville wilted, and Virginia won their 3rd straight game and moved into second place in the ACC.

 

The Fighting Irish came to Klockner Stadium missing three midfielders and had to face the #1 Cavaliers’ possession offense.  It wasn’t a fair fight, really.