Virginia outshot American, 4-2, in a penalty-kick tie breaker after 110 minutes of scoreless play today to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory.
The fourth-ranked Cavaliers (19-2-1) likely will play Sunday in the round of eight; matchups and times will be announced Monday.
Virginia made four of a possible five unguarded shots from 12 yards out in the tie breaker; the Eagles missed two of four tries.
The Cavaliers led, 3-2, after each team had taken four shots. Brian Vernon got Virginia's third goal after receiving a second shot when goalkeeper Steve Giordano was called for moving before the kick was taken. AU's leading scorer, Mike Brady, then knocked his attempt to tie the score over the crossbar. Virginia sweeper Rob Steward sealed the victory by making his attempt.
"Nobody likes to lose like that," said American Coach Pete Mehlert, "but there has to be a way to break ties because of time constraints. I just feel bad for our kids."
The unranked Eagles (13-5-2) survived a 25-minute onslaught by Virginia in the last part of the first half, then played the Cavaliers even throughout the second half and two 10-minute overtime periods. Giordano saved three of Virginia's seven shots in the first-half burst, during which the Cavaliers took six corner kicks.
Giordano stopped Virginia's best chance to score 30 seconds into the second half when he caught Jeff Gaffney's shot from 10 yards out. Gaffney had taken a pass from Vernon in the box and attempted a shot that Giordano was waiting for.
American's best opportunity came 6:25 into the first overtime period. Vasken Demirjian sent a corner kick into the goal mouth that AU fullback Paul Tarricone and Virginia goalkeeper Keith Lenert both touched. The ball was dropped by Lenert and appeared headed into the goal, but Steward was there to clear it away.