Men’s soccer defeats Marquette, 2-0

Cavaliers remain undefeated on season

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Sophomore forward Raheem Taylor-Parkes scored the first of two Virginia goals in Virginia's 2-0 win. 

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

No. 12 Virginia and Marquette matched up for the third time in history Tuesday night, finishing off a five-game home for the Cavaliers (4-0-1) that showed the team has a high ceiling. The Golden Eagles (0-4-1) looked to come in and play the spoiler, searching for their first victory of the young season.

Marquette put up its best effort, but could not outpace the high-octane Virginia offense, which entered the match scoring 2.75 goals per game. The seventh-best attack in the NCAA found a way to get things done against the Golden Eagles, winning 2-0 without their best forward option, junior Edward Opoku.

Opoku was sidelined for the contest after receiving a late red card in the previous matchup against Syracuse. Sophomore forward Raheem Taylor-Parkes shined in his first start of the year in Opoku’s place. 

Taylor-Parkes netted the first goal of the game in the 48th minute, and junior defender Sergi Nus ensured the win with a 86th minute penalty kick.

The Cavaliers dominated the opening half in terms of shots and time of possession, but could not net an early goal against a struggling opponent. Virginia’s athletic advantage was apparent as Taylor-Parkes darted around the young defense with ease. 

Weather played a factor, as the ball slowed across the wet field and prevented many of Virginia’s long balls from having their full effect. 

“Our team strategy was try to get me in behind and use my speed as much as possible,” Taylor-Parkes said. “With the ball just skipping against the ground we just tried to find different ways … and eventually it did work.”

The first half ended scoreless, as Virginia failed to take advantage of its seven shots. Virginia had several opportunities on corner kicks as well, often crossing the face of goal for what seemed like forever before being cleared.

Gelnovatch thought the team’s play in the first half set the seeds for their second half goals.

“I saw it coming at the end of the first half,” Gelnovatch said. “Typically teams can get through the first half. By the end of the first half I think they were already getting tired, so I felt like we would get one early [in the second half].”

It did not take very long into the second half for Taylor-Parkes’ efforts to pay off, fighting through two defenders to net his first career goal in the 48th minute. The lack of experience was apparent as Taylor-Parkes went for his celebration slide and completely wiped out. 

“Raheem did a great job … We got two goals and, you know, I think on a better night, two more,” Gelnovatch said. “I think we deserved another goal or two, but it’s a shutout and a two nothing win, i’ll take it.”

Virginia’s offense continued to probe following its score, having seemingly worn down the Golden Eagles in the first half. Nus netted a late 86th minute penalty kick to give the Cavaliers a comfortable 2-0 lead — his third score on the season.

Marquette had multiple attacking opportunities in the second half, but could not cash in as the Cavaliers rolled to another win at Klöckner Stadium.

Every victory is important for the Cavaliers as they start their ACC road schedule against Virginia Tech and follow it up with a huge matchup against No. 8 North Carolina at Klöckner Stadium. 

“It’s [the win] very important, it keeps the team moral high as we’re going into a very big rivalry … with our biggest rival in the whole state,” Taylor-Parkes said. “Hopefully [we’ll] have the same luck on Friday and have the same result.”

Virginia has a few days to rest and prepare before it travels to Blacksburg this Friday. It looks to continue its undefeated streak overall and against the ACC in the game against the Hokies (2-3-0). The matchup will take place at 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted on the ACC Network Extra. 

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