Cavs split against Terps, Panthers
The Virginia men’s soccer team stormed back from an early deficit Tuesday evening to earn a scintillating, next-to-last-minute 2-1 victory against No. 23 High Point. The win erased some of the disappointment of failing to score in the squad’s previous outing Friday, a 1-0 decision at No. 1 Maryland.
The High Point match — which was tightly contested throughout and finished with Virginia barely holding on to a 10-9 shot advantage — marked the first of a four-game home stretch for the Cavaliers (6-5-1, 1-3-0 ACC).
The Panthers (10-1-1) entered the game unbeaten and sporting the program’s first-ever national ranking. They jumped on the board first after a defensive miscue by Virginia in the 10th minute. Sophomore forward Mamadee Nyepon stole the ball from a Cavalier defender and his subsequent pass freed senior midfielder Shawn Sloan down the center of the pitch. Sloan took advantage of a one-on-one opportunity against sophomore keeper Spencer LaCivita, putting away his shot from 15 yards out.
Virginia came roaring back, however, and was able to equalize in the 29th minute when senior captain Will Bates adroitly curved a free kick taken from just inches outside the box into the back of the net.
In the game’s waning minutes, Virginia forced a series of corner kicks that engendered a scene of chaos in the box as both teams jostled for position and possession. As the High Point defenders were hastily attempting to clear the ball to safety, senior midfielder Shane Malcolm inadvertently struck the ball with his arm, resulting in a penalty kick.
Bates took the ensuing spot attempt in the 89th minute and calmly placed it into the right corner of the net.
Before their triumphant return home, the Cavaliers held a potent Terrapin offense to one goal thanks in part to a season-high six saves from LaCivita. But freshman midfielder Schillo Tshuma’s 26th minute tally doomed the Cavaliers to their third ACC loss last week. Virginia faces Wake Forest Friday looking for a much-needed conference win.