No. 16 Virginia dominates Cornell, 4-0
Men's soccer gets back on track in midweek matchup
Coming off a tough weekend in which they fell to ACC rival Louisville in a lopsided 6-1 match, the No. 16 Virginia men’s soccer team was eager to get back onto the field. Fortunately for the team, its schedule allowed for a quick turnaround.
The Cavaliers (4-2-2, 0-2-1 ACC) hosted Cornell Tuesday night in the first match of a three-game home stand for Virginia. The Cavaliers were able to bounce back from their rough loss to the Cardinals by beating the Big Red (0-7-2, 0-0 IVY) handily 4-0 at Klőckner Stadium.
“I think having a quick turnaround, and kind of remounting and getting back on the horse, was perfect for us,” coach George Gelnovatch said.
Earlier in the week, Gelnovatch had talked about how he expected his team to respond, and that was exactly what happened.
“We just scored four goals and we won, and we got our rhythm back, and I didn’t expect anything less,” Gelnovatch said. “Our confidence wasn’t shaken Saturday.”
The Cavaliers were dominant throughout, scoring a goal in the first half and adding three more in the second period.
The game started off as a battle, as neither team was able to score early on. However, Virginia was able to shrug off their slow start and get on the board towards the end of the first half. After freshman defender and midfielder Robin Afamefuna was brought down in the box, Virginia got their chance for a penalty kick. The Cavaliers capitalized on the kick, with senior midfielder and defender Paddy Foss punching in the goal to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead before the half.
Unlike the first half, the second half was dominated by Virginia, with the Cavaliers scoring three straight goals to turn the match into a lopsided affair.
Virginia added on their lead in the second half, courtesy of sophomore forward Wesley Wade, who scored a goal in his second consecutive match, and his third overall of the season. Wade scored off of a nice assist from junior midfielder Pablo Aguilar.
Virginia’s third goal of the night was not scored by a Cavalier, but was actually an own goal. Sophomore midfielder and defender Julian Cummings made a nice play that resulted in the Cornell blunder.
Virginia’s final goal of the night was scored off a free kick by sophomore defender Surgi Nus. The goal was his third of the season.
Along with a dominant offense, Virginia’s defense looked sharp throughout, preventing Cornell from scoring a single goal. Foss talked about the importance in the way the defense played, especially after giving up six goals to the Cardinals.
“It was good for us to get a little bit of confidence, especially in the defensive half,” Foss said. “You know it’s disappointing to give up that many goals, but it’s nice for the guys in the back to get that under their belt, especially Jeff, and you know get that going, so it was absolutely important.”
Wade echoed those sentiments, and talked about how Virginia worked in practice to shut down Cornell’s offense, especially when defending set pieces.
“It’s something we’ve been working on all practice,” Wade said. “We were really adamant about keeping a clean sheet tonight — especially on set pieces — something we struggled on last week and in the past, so we’ve been working really hard on that, and it’s really good that it showed up today.”
Despite a dominant win over Cornell, Virginia knows it still has work to do in order to become a better team.
“It’s still a point in the season where we’re still looking at stuff, you know,” Gelnovatch said. “If you tie it into the big loss on Saturday, I’ve always been about growing and learning so that by the time we get to November, we’re at our best — we learned a lot about ourselves on Saturday.”
Virginia will now await the arrival of in-state rival Virginia Tech for another edition of the Commonwealth Clash. That match is scheduled to take place Friday at 7 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium.