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No. 4 UVA women’s soccer blanks George Mason 2-0 in home opener

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Via University of Virginia) – Senior goalkeeper Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas) became the career leader in wins on Sunday as No. 4 Virginia (2-0-0) shutout George Mason (1-1-0) by a score of 2-0 in the home opener.

Stearns posted the 56th win of her career, passing the mark set by Chantel Jones in the 2011 season. It was also the 27th shutout of Stearns’ career. The Cavaliers have shutout both opponents this season after picking up a 4-0 win at Liberty in the season opener last Friday.

Virginia out-shot the Patriots 23-to-4 on the afternoon. The George Mason keeper kept things in check with nine saves on the afternoon, preventing the Cavaliers from extending the lead beyond the two-goal advantage held by UVA at the half.

+Read: No. 4 UVA women’s soccer routs Liberty 4-0 to kick off season

“We were taking some shots today, but we weren’t finishing,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “That’s a credit to their keeper for getting her hand and feet on some things. We’ve left a lot of goals out there, so that’s something we have to work on. We did too much shooting and not enough finishing, looking and placing based on where the keeper was today.

“We’re proud of Morgan (Stearns), but it’s hard to believe she’s a fourth-year already. That’s a tough record to break, so credit to her. We’ve been pleased with her performance. Last year she was coming off that hip injury and this year she is in a much different place. Hopefully that bodes well for her.”

The Cavaliers wasted no time getting on the board with Veronica Latsko (Venetia, Pa.) finding the back of the net in the second minute of play. Meghan McCool (Glenside, Pa.) took a shot right outside the six-yard box that was blocked and Latsko collected the deflection and fired it into the goal.

Virginia extended the lead to 2-0 in the 30th minute when Jasmine Wright (Crownsville, Md.) dribbled down the near sideline and sent in a cross. Alexis Shaffer (Cary, N.C.) collected the ball eight yards out in the middle of the box, turned and shot for the goal.

The Cavaliers had a chance to extend the lead to three goals in the 60th minute when Shaffer sent a cross in to Alissa Gorzak (Naperville, Ill.). Gorzak took the shot inside the six-yard box, but the George Mason keeper turned it away with a diving punch. It was one of five saves by George Mason in the second half.

Virginia out-shot the Patriots 8-to-2 in the period.

“We got a lot of players minutes this weekend which is good, but we have to make some decisions now,” Swanson said. “We’re trying to open it up a little and get players minutes where we can. We have depth, but we have to see what positions people are suited for and relationships on the field.”
Virginia will return to action on Thursday (Aug. 25) when the Cavaliers host Michigan State at 7 p.m. It’s the second game of a six-game homestand for Virginia.

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