Men’s soccer closes regular season against Duke
Cavaliers will honor Foss, Corriveau and Salandy-Defour on Senior Day
After an intense away draw against Pittsburgh last Friday, the No. 15 Virginia men’s soccer team prepares to face Duke for another Friday night ACC matchup, only this time in Klöckner Stadium.
Against the Panthers (2-11-3, ACC 0-5-2), the Cavaliers (8-2-5, ACC 2-2-3) battled the elements under rainy weather conditions and ended the scoreless game in double overtime. Despite finishing the game in a draw, Virginia preserved its now eight-game undefeated streak.
The Cavaliers maintained possession throughout most of the game, winning the battle in both shots, 9-5, and corner kicks, 12-1. Junior goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell and the Virginia defense convincingly shut down a talented Pittsburgh offensive attack.
Even though the Cavaliers displayed a dominant performance, coach George Gelnovatch was not completely pleased with the outcome.
“I think this game at Pitt was a tough one,” he said. “The weather conditions and the way they lined up made it really tough for us, although we had the ball the whole time, we still came away feeling like we lost.”
Gelnovatch also expects a difficult game against the Blue Devils (7-6-2, ACC 2-4-1). Friday marks Virginia’s final regular season ACC contest. The Cavaliers will need to perform well in order to move up in the ACC standings.
“[The Duke game] will be another hard fought ACC game with lots of implications from both teams where there are points for RPIs,” Gelnovatch said.
Virginia sophomore defender Sergi Nus, a Barcelona native who played all 110 minutes of the Pitt game, also commented on the importance of gaining more points to move up in the ACC ranks.
“As an ACC team, Duke is going to be really tough to break down,” he said. “They’re going to have really talented players. The ACC is the better conference in all Division I soccer so we expect a really tough team with some talented guys. I am sure we are going to get ready to play against them and try and get the three points.”
Virginia has the major advantage of playing Duke in Klöckner, where avid fans will be present to cheer on the Cavaliers on their Senior Night. Seniors to be honored prior to kickoff include midfielder Paddy Foss, forward Nicko Corriveau and forward Marcus Salandy-Defour.
“We look forward to getting this win,” Nus said. “We know that with all the fans here we are a really strong team.”
Despite Cavalier optimism, Duke should not be underestimated. The Blue Devils’ have won three games in a row, including last Friday against then-No. 4 Notre Dame.
Duke junior midfielder Brian White, who scored the winning goal Tuesday against Elon, is the team’s top scorer five goals for the season and a shot on goal percentage of 46 percent.
Another key Blue Devil is senior goalkeeper Robert Moewes, who saved all four Elon’s (7-4-3, CAA 3-1-2) shots on goal. During the fifth minute of overtime, Moewes kept the Blue Devils alive by saving an Elon header. Moewes has been the America East Goalkeeper of the Year for the past two years and is a formidable force in front of the net.
Cavalier defensemen will also have to be wary of talented freshman midfielder Max Moser, who played all 98 minutes against Elon. He denied a professional contract from SC Austria Lustenau to play for Duke.
In order to score against the Blue Devils and maintain the undefeated streak, Virginia’s top scorer, sophomore forward Edward Opoku, will have to infiltrate Duke’s defense and remain consistent throughout the game.
Opoku has scored six goals for Virginia this season, while sophomore forward Wesley Wade is second on the team with five.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.