Men's Soccer looks to topple unbeaten Friars
Cavaliers seek successful finish to unbeaten homestand
After topping previously-unbeaten George Mason one week ago, the Virginia men’s soccer team will look to end a second opponent’s undefeated start when it takes on Providence Tuesday.
But coach George Gelnovatch is not fazed by this next installment in a string of tough Tuesday night visitors to Klöckner Stadium.
“I think these guys have it in their head or have it sinking in that there’s not a team on the schedule that we can’t show up for,” Gelnovatch said. “I think we have a little bit of a bad taste in our mouth still [from the NC State game], so maybe that’s not a bad thing for Tuesday.”
Virginia (2-3-1, 0-2-1 ACC) comes into Tuesday’s game following a last-minute comeback 3-3 tie against ACC opponent NC State (3-1-1, 1-1-1 ACC) at home Friday. Grabbing their second win of the season last week against George Mason, the Cavaliers are vying to finish their three-game homestand undefeated.
In each of its two victories this season, Virginia has scored first and scored early. Though Gelnovatch acknowledged the psychological advantage this gives the team, he placed equal emphasis on making it to halftime without conceding any early goals.
“Not only giving up the first goal but giving it up earlier in the first half has been getting to us a little bit,” Gelnovatch said. “And the goals that we’re giving up really aren’t fundamental breakdowns of our team defensively. They’re just restarts, like individually winning your battle.”
Sophomore midfielder Marcus Salandy-Defour, who made a return to the team last Friday after being out with a groin injury, indicated that the team is unsatisfied with their last minute heroics against NC State.
“[There were] mixed emotions, because we tied the team we definitely should have beat — at home,” Salandy-Defour said. “In the future we just can’t get scored on early. I think if we were the first team to score, you would see us dominating teams, because we feed off that energy.”
The Cavaliers will rely upon the continued steady, all-around play of midfielder Jordan Allen against Providence and for the rest of the season. The freshman has contributed a goal and three assists so far, and he has been getting rave reviews from the coaching staff.
“He does a little bit of everything well,” Gelnovatch said. “He’s very good in possession; he’s very good running at people one-vs.-one. He defends, so he covers ground. He’s one of the guys that makes us go.”
Providence (5-0-2) comes into Tuesday’s game off of a 2-0 victory against Boston University Friday. The Friars boast a lethal but balanced attack, with eight different players accounting for their 13 goals this season.
Following Tuesday’s game against Providence, Virginia’s home schedule does not ease up. The seven remaining games include matchups with No. 18 Maryland, No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 1 North Carolina.