Women’s soccer drops opener vs. Virginia, 2-0

Friday was the third meeting between the two programs in three years


Brandon Sans/The Seahawk

Members of the UNCW and Virginia women’s soccer teams gather for a postgame huddle on Friday, Aug. 18.

Brandon Sans, Assistant Sports Editor

UNC Wilmington knew what it was up against when it scheduled No. 11 Virginia for its season opener, but that did not derail the Seahawks from going toe-to-toe with the Cavaliers despite uncertainty at the goalkeeper position.

The Seahawks (0-1) fell 2-0 to the Cavs in front of a record-setting crowd at UNCW Soccer Stadium on Friday but was never more than a few breaks away from avenging its loss to Virginia in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

Like in 2015, both Virginia (2-0) goals came courtesy of a few fortunate breaks that are often a trend with good teams. The resiliency shown by the Seahawks by limiting the Cavaliers to five shots on goal served as a moral win for a team with 16 newcomers, including 13 freshmen.

Freshmen goalkeepers Cassidy Boyes, Sydney Schneider and junior transfer Caitie Broderick were in the mix to claim the starting job in last week’s exhibition vs. Western Carolina. Ultimately, Schneider’s ability to operate in the box prompted coach Paul Cairney to give her the starting nod in the opener.

“Coming in as a freshman, we all had to work hard to get it,” said Schneider. “I know I have to keep going. I’m not content with it. We’re all still fighting so it’s still a competition.”

Schneider’s debut was anything but uneventful. After earning the start, she collided with a Virginia player early in the second half, allowing Virginia to extend its lead while she was down. Schneider would stay in the game and block a penalty kick later on.

Despite the loss, the experience gained competing with a nationally-ranked team stands to help UNCW grow and mature. The energy Schneider brings to the back line should only bolster this.

“We have two team goals we talk about every day: win the next game and get better,” said Cairney. “So that’s going to make us better. And it keeps us focused on the opponent. It keeps us focused on the process rather than the result, so we’ll bounce right back and be ready for Sunday.”

After a Saturday practice, UNCW will turn its attention to Dayton, hosting the Flyers on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. It will be the first ever meeting between the programs.

Assistant Sports Editor Brandon Sans can be reached on Twitter @Bsans10. Any tips or suggestions should be forwarded via email to njt8879@uncw.edu