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Gibbs nets two,

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.--Three days after his teammate Sheldon Barnes came off the bench to beat Northeastern with three goals, Ryan Gibbs decided it was his turn to shine.

Gibbs, a sophomore reserve forward, entered the No. 11 Virginia men's soccer team's match against No. 5 Wake Forest after a scoreless first half and netted both goals in a 2-0 road win Saturday. The hard-fought match opened the ACC season for both the Cavs (4-2, 1-0 ACC) and the Deacons (2-3, 0-1).

"It feels good," said Gibbs, whose goals were his first of the season. "It's very, very exciting to get in to play and to win, period, in the ACC."

The Virginia offense started slow and managed only two shots in the opening half on Deacon goalkeeper Rob Vartughian as Cav forward Alecko Eskandarian recovered from a charley horse.

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  • Cavalier Daily coverage of Virginia men's soccer
  • Wake Forest men's soccer

    To jumpstart the Cavalier attack, Virginia coach George Gelnovatch replaced Barnes with Gibbs, who had logged only 105 minutes this season. His presence, along with Eskandarian's return, gave new life to the offense. In the first two minutes of the second half, the Cavs equaled their entire first-half shot total.

    "Gibbs is one of those guys that works so hard, that I can always count on to make the run, so I try to feed off that," Eskandarian said. "Just seeing him play, seeing him run makes me want to work as hard as he does."

    Though Gibbs's first shot was blocked, he struck paydirt in the 48th minute. Eskandarian cleared a ball from midfield to the left side that dropped between Gibbs and two Deacon defenders. Gibbs beat both for control and chipped a looping shot from 23 yards over Vartughian's head and into the net.

    Virginia 2 - Wake Forest 0
    Cavalier Daily Box Score

    "Imagine having a kid like Gibbs who can come off the bench at any point in the game and make a big play," sophomore midfielder Kyle Martino said.

    "If he's on the field starting for us, he's going to do great for us, but if he's coming off the bench and he's healthy, fresh and running against a team that is tired, that's really dangerous."

    With the Cavs up 1-0, the play became decidedly physical as Virginia tried to protect its lead. In the end, the two teams combined for 37 fouls. Referee Alex Prus issued nine cards, eight to Cavaliers.

    "We had this ref before in the ACC and he's really hard on away teams," Martino said. "This is the second time we've been to Wake and we've had trouble with him. It's not necessarily that he's a bad ref. It's just that he gets too happy with those cards. He keeps giving them out and giving them out."

    Prus issued Martino his second card in the 57th minute, which automatically kicked him out of the game and suspends him from Wednesday's game against VCU.

    Martino's actions were "dumb, dumb," Gelnovatch said. "The first yellow card was for mouthing off to the official. To me, if you're going to take a yellow card, make an attack or something like that, not mouthing off to the referee. It was stupid. I hope he learns from it."

    Forced to play a man down after Martino was ejected, the Cavaliers dropped back to play a conservative defensive game, leaving Gibbs the only forward on the attack.

    "When Martino got thrown out, it almost worked for us," Gelnovatch said. "We now had to drop off a little bit and they had a hard time knowing what to do. Their game plan was to totally drop off, and then counter. When we had to drop off because we lost a guy, they were kind of lost."

    Gibbs capitalized on the Deacons' apparent confusion in the 70th minute with his second goal. He controlled Steve Totten's pass along the endline of the penalty area and snuck a shot into the net from a tight angle, serving the Deacs their first regular season home loss since November 1998.

    "What won the game was the second goal," Wake Forest coach Jay Vidovich said. "After [the first goal], we could still play, but after the insurance goal, it's a different game, even if you're a man-up"


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