Virginia faces No. 2 Notre Dame
Men’s soccer awaits ACC rival Friday night
In the second home game of the week, No. 21 Virginia hosts No. 2 Notre Dame at Klöckner Stadium Friday at 7 p.m. It will be the second game of the week for the Cavaliers (6-2-4, 1-2-2 ACC), as they continue to try and extend their unbeaten streak against a difficult in conference opponent in the Fighting Irish (10-1-1, 3-1-1 ACC).
Virginia has shown resiliency throughout the season, as they displayed against Radford this past Tuesday with a late tying goal to salvage a draw. They will have to come out strong against such a tough and consistent Notre Dame squad that has not lost since mid-September, and rides a five game unbeaten streak into Friday night. However, Virginia players are looking forward to the excitement that facing a rival team presents.
“It’s going to be so intense. The crowd is going to be there, perfect weather,” sophomore forward Wesley Wade said. “We’re just so excited. It’s just a great opportunity to showcase ourselves,”
The Cavaliers seem to be ready for the opportunity to prove to everyone they are still the pride of the conference, even with so many formidable opponents. After a blowout loss to Louisville earlier this year, Virginia has yet to lose another match, including an upset win last week away against No. 8 North Carolina.
“Coming off that 6-1 loss to Louisville, I think that really woke us up, and we’ve just become so mentally strong,” Wade said. “Especially on set pieces, we’ve been focusing on those a lot. It’s really been a mentality that all of us have,”
With only four matches remaining, every point matters for Virginia. They will need to win their next several matches to put themselves in a good position for the ACC and NCAA tournaments going forward. And with a long schedule — and the potential to go deep into tournaments — stamina is sometimes the most important factor to success.
“By tomorrow they’ll be fine. This day, typically, they’re still 70 percent of 100 percent ready. But by tomorrow they’ll push that needle the extra 20 or 30 percent that they need to be ready,” coach George Gelnovatch said. Notre Dame’s in the same boat. They played Tuesday at Michigan. And they have to travel here. So they’re in the same boat. We’ll see.”
It should be an exciting match-up, as two teams looking to make deep postseason runs clash in conference play.