Men’s soccer opens ACC play against Syracuse

Cavaliers look to start the year 4-0 overall

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The opening schedule has not been a cakewalk for Virginia, facing tough early season opponents in Villanova and UNC-Wilmington. Both teams gave the Cavaliers a scare, and it took a game winner from junior defender Sergi Nus in each to move on with a victory. 

Alexa Patel | Cavalier Daily

No. 11 Virginia has opened up the season with an offensive explosion, scoring nine goals in three games. The Cavaliers (3-0-0) will look to continue to press the attack Friday night when they take on No. 7 Syracuse. 

The opening schedule has not been a cakewalk for Virginia, facing tough early season opponents in Villanova and UNC-Wilmington. Both teams gave the Cavaliers a scare, and it took a game winner from junior defender Sergi Nus in each to move on with a victory. 

UNC-Wilmington (3-1-0) was not to be taken lightly, having just defeated No. 3 North Carolina last Friday night. Junior forward Edward Opoku has lit up the scoreboard for Virginia in its opening contests, scoring three goals in three games while adding multiple assists.  He made sure the Cavaliers started the game the right way, scoring in the 28th minute to put his team up 1-0. 

If Opoku continues his style of aggressive play combined with picture perfect passing and finishing, then this team is in for a special season. As one of the most dynamic players in the nation, Opoku has the ability to get around defenders and the speed to track down long runs. 

Opoku has received help on the defensive side of the ball from stalwarts Nus and senior goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell. Both are experienced players who control communication in the back line and ground the defense with their steady play. Caldwell nearly received his second shutout in a row, but the Seahawks squeezed one shot in in the 68th minute to equalize. 

Syracuse (3-0-1) comes off a 3-1 victory over Northwestern. All of the Orange goals came in the first 19 minutes of the game, producing an early lead that discouraged any form of comeback. 

Offense has not been a problem for Syracuse so far this year, and should result in a high-scoring matchup. Through the first four games of the season, the Orange have scored eight goals. Both teams will have to find a way to slow the opposing forwards down. 

Virginia and Syracuse have not had a matchup in the last few seasons. The Orange took the win in their previous game in September of 2014, 1-0. The Cavaliers went on to win the national championship that season, and the players from that team know how vital it is to stay on track and focused.  

The matchup takes place at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8 at Kl√∂ckner Stadium or can be viewed live on ACC Network Extra. 

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