Virginia senior forward Angela Hucles needed just 27 minutes tonight to record her third career hat trick and lead the No. 8 Cavaliers to a 5-0 victory over Maryland. Freshman Alyssa Benitez and senior Jill Maxwell also scored for Virginia.
The Virginia women (7-2, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their sixth straight game and performed several head-first slides on the sloppy field after the final whistle. In an earlier game, the No. 13 Virginia men's soccer team (6-2-1) handled American, 2-0, on goals by freshman Ryan Gibbs and senior Ryan Trout. Sophomore Sheldon Barnes fed Gibbs on a two-man breakaway in the 31st minute and Trout added an insurance tally with four seconds left.
Hucles, a candidate for national player of the year, is the Cavaliers' all-time leading scorer with 125 points. She has six goals and four assists this season.
"I scored as many goals tonight as I had all season, so this definitely surprised me," Hucles said. "Our timing as a team and my timing was just on tonight."
A driving rain turned torrential in the second half and standing water on the field made for an almost comical final 30 minutes. With three minutes left, the officials asked the coaches if they wanted to end the game, but they declined. Maryland (3-6-1, 1-1-1), which started four freshmen, beat then-No. 9 Duke in overtime 10 days ago, but collapsed defensively tonight.
"I think our freshmen freaked out a little bit tonight," Maryland Coach Shannon Higgins-Cirovski said. "We weren't as organized as we should have been defensively."
Hucles started her scoring outburst in the ninth minute, touching the ball around Maryland freshman defender Carly Viher at the right edge of the penalty area and chipping the ball over goalkeeper Alli Wolff from 15 yards.
Hucles scored again in the 16th minute when she deftly redirected a short cross from Jill Maxwell between Wolff and Viher about six yards from the near post. About 11 minutes later, freshman midfielder Kelly Worden lofted a pass behind Maryland's defense and Hucles settled the ball with her right foot before lifting it over Wolff as she charged off the goal line.
In the men's game, American fell to 2-5 and the Eagles' top defender, junior Bob Brennan, left about 10 minutes after halftime with a separated shoulder. Gibbs's goal was his sixth of the season.