The UVA men’s soccer team advanced to the national championship game with a 1-0 victory over UMBC Friday evening in the semifinals of the NCAA College Cup, hosted at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. Darius Madison (Jr., Philadelphia, Pa.) scored in the fifth minute, and Virginia (13-6-3) made it stand as the Cavaliers recorded their 10th clean sheet of the season.
In search of its seventh national championship, 16th-seeded Virginia will play second-seeded UCLA or 11th-seeded Providence at noon Sunday in the championship match. UMBC had its 10-match unbeaten streak snapped and finished its season with a 14-6-5 record.
UVa is making its eighth NCAA championship game appearance. The Cavaliers won titles in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 2009, and lost in the 1997 championship game to UCLA. This also marks just the third time in NCAA history that one school has sent both its men’s and women’s soccer teams to the national championship games in the same season (UNC in 2001 and 2008).
“We’re obviously excited to be in the final and competing for a national championship,” Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. “My hat’s off to UMBC. They are a very, very good team and they played exceptionally well tonight. I do think we got our tactics right tonight and executed the game plan and put ourselves in a good situation to compete for a national championship.”
UMBC finished with a 5-3 advantage in shots, while both teams put one shot on goal. The Retrievers took nine corner kicks, with UVa taking a pair. UMBC committed nine fouls, while UVa was called for six. UVa goalkeeper Calle Brown (R-Sr., Leesburg, Va.) made one save, while UMBC keeper Billy Heavner did not record a save.
Virginia scored on its first quality opportunity in the first minute as Pablo Aguilar (R-Fr., Guatemala City, Guatemala) stripped the ball and then played it wide to an open Madison, who took a touch in the box and then fired low and found the back of the net, just inside the far post. It was Madison’s fourth goal of the season, and his first since he scored a pair of goals on Sept. 30 against James Madison.
The Madison strike also resulted in the Cavaliers’ earliest goal in a match this season. It also marked UVa’s fifth goal in a first half this year. The Retrievers conceded a goal for the first time in 793 minutes, including each of their first four NCAA tournament matches.
Virginia continued to control the run of play in the first 15 minutes, including a header in the box from Madison in the 15th minute that went just over the crossbar.
UMBC pushed forward and held the possession advantage for much of the final 75 minutes. The Retrievers piled up nine corner kicks, but could not find the equalizer.