Men’s soccer: No. 13 Virginia plays No. 5 North Carolina to scoreless draw

unc-uva2The No. 13 Virginia men’s soccer team played No. 5 North Carolina to a scoreless draw Friday evening in front of 2,366 fans at Klöckner Stadium. Prior to the match, UVA conducted Senior Day ceremonies for its quartet of fourth-years, Andrew Freschi (Atlanta, Ga.), Marcus Salandy-Defour (Kensington, Md.), Scott Thomsen (Brick, N.J.) and Todd Wharton (Glen Allen, Va.).

Virginia completed its regular season with a 9-3-3 record (4-2-2 ACC), while North Carolina finishes at 14-1-2 (6-1-1 ACC).

“The timing of this game is very good for us,” Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. “North Carolina is a very, very good team. I think they are a College Cup-caliber team, and for us to play this game this late in the season rather than earlier on in the ACC, it gets us ready for teams we are going to have to deal with to win championships.

“So we can check off boxes for what we need to do right in the postseason. The first thing we have to do is not get scored on. Playing a team that scores a ton of goals, we did great. They didn’t get one good chance. We checked that one off, going into the postseason like we did going into last postseason. We will get better coming out of our half, and we will get some more chances.”

Virginia has clinched a first-round bye in the ACC Tournament, which kicks off next Wednesday (Nov. 4) with seeds 7-10. UVA’s first match will be played on Sunday, Nov. 8. The Cavaliers will be the No. 4 or 5 seed, depending on the result of the Notre Dame-Pitt match on Saturday afternoon. If Notre Dame wins, UVA will be the 5-seed and head to South Bend next weekend. If the Fighting Irish draw or lose, the Cavaliers will earn the 4-seed and host Notre Dame next Sunday.

North Carolina out-shot Virginia, 13-7, although Virginia put more shots on frame, 4-2. UVA goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell (So., Todd, N.C.) stopped a pair of shots as the Cavaliers recorded their second straight clean sheet. UNC goalkeeper James Pyle recorded four saves.

Virginia’s best scoring chance was its first scoring opportunity of the match in the ninth minute. Edward Opoku (Fr., Rye, N.Y.) aggressively chased down a long downfield pass and muscled his way past the defender to get to the ball and create a one-on-one situation against Pyle. Opoku’s short, low shot was smothered by Pyle to thwart the chance.

UNC went a man down late in the first overtime period when Alan Winn was shown a red card after a flagrant challenge against Caldwell. The Cavaliers nearly capitalized in the waning seconds of the period when Jean-Christophe Koffi (Potomac, Md.) ripped a low blast that deflected off a UNC defender and rolled just wide of the far post.


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