Men’s soccer loses to Radford, 1-0

Cavaliers fail to extend unbeaten streak to seven games

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Senior midfielder Pablo Aguilar scored the first goal by a Virginia player in the 22nd minute off a corner kick.

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

No. 10 Virginia hosted one of the Big South leading schools, Radford, in their second to last regular season home game of the season. The Cavaliers (9-2-3, 2-1-3 ACC) could not take care of business against the in-state opponent and were defeated 1-0.

“Their personnel has a feel for us,” Coach George Gelnovatch said. “They’re comfortable here, they’ve been here enough times and they’re a tough team to play against.”

Virginia is normally dominant at home, winning the 25 of the last 26 at Klöckner Stadium heading into the match. The non-conference matchup seemed to go as planned, with the front line creating space and drawing the Highlanders (8-4-2, 3-1-1 Big South) defenders into early fouls.

Radford struggled heading into one of its toughest matchups of the season, losing two of its last three contests. The Cavaliers needed every point they could get towards their RPI, with seven ACC opponents in the top 10 heading towards the ACC tournament. 

The Cavaliers scraped together their first corner kick in the 20th minute, but outside of a few wild shots and crosses with no one to connect, the offense did not get much out of its numerous early possessions. 

Neither team could gain an edge in the first half —they entered the locker rooms knotted up at nil a piece. 

Junior forward Edward Opoku had the first great chance of the game for the Cavaliers in the 55th minute. His point blank shot was deflected just over the crossbar for a corner kick.

The Highlanders broke through in the 61st minute, striking from the right side of the box past the outstretched arms of senior goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell to take the 1-0 lead. 

“I thought going into halftime … We could like we have before, wear them down.” Gelnovatch said. “Typically when we go in at 0-0 we score the first goal in the second half, and I think them getting that goal … Really turned the momentum for them.”

Although the Cavaliers recovered from falling behind in another mid-week game, this time, they failed to do so and suffered a shocking 1-0 defeat.  

“Listen this is … At this time of year getting a little bit of a wake up call,” Gelnovatch said. “What I told the team, is the worst feeling is losing a game like this and your season’s over, so we’ll regroup, look at the film and get ready for Friday against Pitt.”

Virginia plays its last home game of the regular season against Pittsburgh on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium. The team will honor the six seniors on the Cavalier roster before the matchup. During a halftime award ceremony, the Virginia athletics department will honor the 1992 men’s soccer National Championship team.

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