Men’s soccer defeats Furman 2-0

Cavaliers advance to third round of NCAA Tournament


Sophomore forward Nathaniel Crofts lifted Virginia over Furman with his two goals.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The No. 10-seeded Virginia men’s soccer team won 2-0 at home against Furman Sunday afternoon in an NCAA Tournament second-round match, thanks to two late goals by sophomore forward Nathaniel Crofts.

The Cavaliers (10-3-3) will advance to play seventh-seeded Notre Dame next Sunday evening in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, reaching that stage for the 12th time in 23 seasons under Coach George Gelnovatch.

Virginia outshot Furman (13-7-2) 15-5 over the course of the match, including the first five shots of the game and 10 of the first 11. Crofts led the Cavaliers in shots with five. 

The Cavaliers had the first scoring chance of the game in the sixth minute, when senior forward Simeon Okoro got around Furman sophomore goalkeeper Ben Hale on a breakaway but was halted by a Furman defender.

In the 13th minute, Crofts had a shot from the top of the box tipped over the crossbar by Hale. Crofts had another go for goal at the start of the second half, but his close range shot was narrowly deflected wide of goal by the Furman defense.

Freshman forward Daniel Steedman had two shots on goal in the 60th and 67th minutes, both of which were saved by Hale to preserve the 0-0 deadlock.

Crofts finally broke through for Virginia in the 78th minute, playing a one-two with freshman forward Daryl Dike just outside the box, dribbling around a Furman defender, then firing a shot from near the penalty spot underneath the diving Hale.

“It was a big relief to see that first goal go in,” Gelnovatch said. “We talked about not getting too frustrated in that regard but you could see it was a big sigh of relief for the whole team.” 

In the 85th minute, Crofts received a through ball from senior forward Kennedy Nwabia, setting him up for an easy breakaway that would earn him Virginia’s second goal of the game.

Virginia sophomore goalkeeper Colin Shutler missed the match with an injury. Junior goalkeeper Marcel Dasilva, a transfer from Tulsa, earned his first career start in goal for the Cavaliers, making four saves.

Notre Dame advanced to the third round after a 0-0 draw with Michigan and 12 rounds of penalty kicks. The Cavaliers and the Fighting Irish will kick off in South Bend at 5 p.m. Sunday.

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