No. 1 men’s soccer hosted No. 24 Louisville for an ACC top-25 clash Friday night at Klockner Stadium. Virginia (10-0-0, 4-0-0 ACC) defeated the Cardinals (5-3-2, 1-2-1 ACC) 2-0, in part due to goals by sophomore forward Daryl Dike and junior defender Spencer Patton.
The match started quickly for Virginia, as the Cavaliers were awarded a corner kick just a minute into the contest. Junior midfielder Joe Bell sent a perfect corner into the box, which Dike headed to put Virginia up 1-0.
This was Dike’s team-leading third goal and Bell’s third assist of the season, as the two offensive stalwarts have been an integral role of a Cavaliers offense that has scored 18 goals this season.
In the seventh minute, Virginia had another golden chance on goal, as Louisville senior forward Kino Ryosuke committed a foul just outside the right corner of the 18-yard box. Senior defender Robin Afamefuna — who was featured on SportsCenter’s top-10 for his free kick abilities — took the shot, which was saved by an acrobatic effort by Louisville junior goalkeeper Jake Gelnovatch.
Notably, Gelnovatch is the son of longtime Virginia Coach George Gelnovatch. The younger Gelnovatch was a 5A Virginia state champion with Albemarle High School and considered Virginia before committing to Louisville.
The Cavaliers peppered Gelnovatch with shots all evening, putting eight shots on goal. Gelnovatch often stepped up to the challenge, making six saves as the Cardinals played a man down after sophomore William Portman was awarded successive yellow cards in the 19th and 21st minutes.
Despite being down a player, Louisville maintained a potent attack after second-half adjustments. In the 58th minute, freshman defender Leonard Getz took a free kick from 25 yards out that rang off the crossbar — preserving a 1-0 lead for Virginia.
During the Cardinals’ second-half press, junior goalkeeper Colin Shutler was nothing short of excellent, as the two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Week made three of his four saves of the game in the first 25 minutes of the second half. This match was Shutler’s ninth shutout of the season, as the Middleburg, Va., native hasn’t allowed a goal in over 600 straight minutes this season.
In the 71st minute, Patton was able to convert a string of passes between junior forward Irakoze Donasiyano and Dike to put away his second goal of the season — and secure the match for Virginia.
The Cavaliers have once again utilized their lethal offense and constricting defense to secure a program-record 10th straight win. Virginia will now face Boston College next Friday, Oct. 11, at 7:00 p.m. in search of their fifth ACC win. The match will be broadcasted from Chestnut Hill, Mass., on ACC Network Extra.