CHARLOTTESVILLE — Alexa Spaanstra and Meghan McCool scored nine goals apiece last season for the Virginia women’s soccer team, tying for the team lead.
The high-scoring duo picked up right where they left off last season on Friday night, each scoring a goal as the No. 9 Cavaliers rolled to a 7-0 victory over UC Irvine at Klockner Stadium.
Claire Constant scored the first two goals of her collegiate career and Charlottesville’s Anna Sumpter added a goal and two assists as six different Cavaliers found the back of the net in the season opener.
“Having a win on opening night is awesome,” Sumpter said. “It puts us on the right foot heading into Sunday [against Liberty] and going into the rest of our out-of-conference season. We’re just ready to get full steam ahead and get going.”
UVa (1-0) opened the scoring in the 13th minute off a great play in transition. Freshman Diana Ordonez deflected a pass near midfield and Spaanstra pounced on the loose ball. The sophomore went on the attack and finished with a blast just inside the left post for a 1-0 lead.
“There was a lot of energy going around in the beginning and it was just so fun,” Ordonez said. “It was nice to be able to play an actual game. I think everyone was really pumped and we got the result.”
The Cavaliers struck again less than two minutes following another UC Irvine turnover deep in its own zone. The miscue resulted in a goal from Rebecca Jarrett for a 2-0 lead with 32:15 left in the first half.
“We kept the ball better than we have all preseason, I think that was the difference maker for us,” Sumpter said. “We moved it quick and moved it off the ball quick, those were the two things we really wanted to do going into the game and I thought we executed great on that.”
Virginia coach Steve Swanson said the fast start was important.
“Goals give you confidence and goals give you momentum and we’ve been in a lot of situations here where we’ve done the hard work, but we can’t finish,” Swanson said. “I think getting those two goals the way we did was a real big difference for us.”
Swanson’s team continued to be clinical in the final third and scored its third goal of the half in the 26th minute.
Sumpter found Ordonez on the right wing and the freshman delivered a perfect cross inside the six-yard box to McCool, who buried the header over the outstretched arms of UC Irvine goalkeeper Maddie Newsome for a 3-0 Wahoo lead.
The second half was more of the same as UVa found the back of the net four times in the final 45 minutes.
Sumpter, who had missed the last four months recovering from ankle surgery, made the most of her return to the pitch. The former Western Albemarle standout scored in the 59th minute to net her first goal of the season.
“It was awesome,” Sumpter said. “Coming off an ankle surgery, I just wanted to come back as soon as I could and be here in time for the season and I couldn’t have been happier with the way it went. I just got back a couple of weeks ago, so it really felt great to get one in the back of the net.”
Swanson said Sumpter’s competitive drive inspires her teammates.
“Everything matters to her,” he said. “Whether it’s playing a game of chess or soccer game or basketball game, she wants to win. She’s driven and I think that has carried over onto our team. You can’t have enough of those players on your team. I’m really proud of her.”
Constant found the back of the net for the first time in her collegiate career in the 74th minute off a free kick from Sumpter.
Ordonez followed with her first career goal for the Cavaliers on a breakaway in the 82nd minute.
“It was really exciting,” Ordonez said. “The field is a little sick, so the ball got away from me a bit, but I was very happy I was able to finish.”
Constant closed the scoring with her second goal of the game four minutes later off a free kick from Ordonez.
Defensively, the Cavaliers were just as impressive. Virginia didn’t concede a shot on goal for the entire 90 minutes.
“For a first game, I thought we did some things really well,” Swanson said. “I was really happy with our defending. There was a good focus throughout the game. We scored some good goals and we were patient when we had to be.”