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Virginia downs Brown

The Virginia men's soccer team scored three unanswered goals in the first half on their way to a 3-1 victory over Brown in front of 2,284 spectators at Klöckner Stadium Sunday.

Virginia (14-8-1) had Brown's number early, with first-year forward Ryan Gibbs scoring in the second minute of play off a Kenny Arena assist. Arena played a through ball to Gibbs, who ended up in a one-on-one with Bears' keeper Matt Cross. Cross came off his line to cut down the angle, and Gibbs responded with a textbook chip shot. The shot rebounded off the crossbar and into the net.

Midfielder Kyle Martino followed Gibbs' lead and put Virginia up 2-0 with an unassisted goal in the 21st minute. Using his finesse and footwork, Martino shook off two Brown defenders to drive the ball past the stationary keeper.

Not to be outdone by two first years, second-year forward Sheldon Barnes decided to join the scoring frenzy. The goal began with Gibbs dribbling through two Brown defenders and losing the ball in a melee of players. The ball was batted around inside the box before Barnes could get a foot on it and elevated Virginia into untouchable territory.

Brown (13-5-0) took the field with a passion in the second half and it paid off with a goal in the 52nd minute.

Midfielder Anders Kelto laid the ball off to senior forward Mike Rudy who was squeezed toward the end line by the Virginia defense. After getting one step in front of his defender, he fired a shot. Even with the tight angle, the ball had enough space to slip by Virginia keeper David Comfort.

The quick goal by Brown in the second half put pressure on the Cavs.

"If we could have put them away in the first 15 minutes of the second half, we wouldn't have had to fight off our backs," Virginia first-year defender Jonathan Cole said.

The game turned tragic in the 75th minute when Brown forward Marcio fell unconscious onto the field. Marcio had been vying for a ball in front of the Cavalier goal area when he fell and banged his head on Comfort's knee. Paramedics rushed onto the field, and eventually Marcio was driven off the field by an ambulance. Marcio was Ivy League Player of the Year, but had not been a factor in this game.

Although tragic, the referee's time out gave the Cavs an advantage.

"It was a very unfortunate injury but it gave us a chance to regroup and catch our breath," Virginia Coach George Gelnovatch said.

Virginia played with a thin bench due to injury and illness. Both Chad Prince and Rob Wright did not dress for the game, while Ryan Trout also did not play due to injuries. Most of the injured players are listed as day to day.

Virginia's road to the Round of Eight has been tumultuous.

"Right around the end of October, our goal was to get into the playoffs," Gelnovatch said.

Both Virginia's strong schedule and near defeat of Duke in the ACC Final boosted them to the sixth seed in the Tournament.

"I don't think that it's a turnaround [for out team], it's just a straightening out," Gelnovatch said.

With this victory, Virginia will advance to the Round of Eight. They will meet UCLA this weekend at Klöckner Stadium to vie for a coveted spot among the four best teams in the nation.

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