Despite loss Cavaliers draw inspiration from U.S. Women's National Team
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- There are two teams on the move today. UVA women's soccer heads to Michigan for their annual preseason trip, while across the globe the US Women's National Team is heading back home.
The reigning World Cup champs were eliminated by Sweden in the round of sixteen early Sunday morning, marking their earliest exit from the World Cup. The game came down to a heartbreaking ending as the Americans and Swedes went into penalty kicks to decide the game.
The US controlled the shootout until Megan Rapinoe, Sophia Smith and Kelly O'Hara each missed their PK, allowing Lina Hurtig the opportunity to clinch the victory for the Swedes. While US goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher argued that she had saved Hurtig's game-winning attempt, it was ruled over the line by VAR. The call sent the US packing and ended their dreams of a three-peat. Despite the early exit the Cavaliers have been watching from home and drawing inspiration as they begin their season.
"That's obviously the goal for a lot of us so it's exciting to be able to watch those players and just to give some inspiration heading into our season," said UVA sophomore forward Maggie Cagle.
"I love watching the different types of saves goalkeepers are making and I'm like trying to replicate that you know even in my practices right now since we're not playing any games," said senior goalie Cayla White, "But yeah it definitely gives me some extra juice, some fire, a little bit of edge."
Head coach Steve Swanson was also keeping up with all the action despite the time difference. The loss hits close to home for him as he helped the US claim back-to-back World Cup Championships in the summers of 2015 and 2019 as an assistant coach.
"You can just see how much the game has evolved even over four years," said UVA women's soccer coach Steve Swanson, "There's some really good teams that are in every world cup compete for a world championship and they're out they're out even in the group stage so it's not easy having been there. I've been in three world cups and you know it's not easy and I think that's what we're seeing."
The Swedes will now play Japan in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals on Friday.