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No. 1 men’s suffers first loss of season to ACC foe Pittsburgh

The Panthers shut-out the Cavaliers en route to a 2-0 upset

<p>Sophomore forward Daniel Steedman had four of Virginia's 14 shots of the night.&nbsp;</p>

Sophomore forward Daniel Steedman had four of Virginia's 14 shots of the night. 

No. 1 Virginia men’s soccer lost their first game of the season Friday night. Pittsburgh defeated the Cavaliers (11-1-1, 4-1-1 ACC) 2-0 at Klockner Stadium, spoiling any hopes of an undefeated season.

Senior midfielder Braden Kline got the Panthers (7-5-2, 3-2-1 ACC) on the board first by scoring his first goal of the season in the 21st minute. Kline snuck behind Virginia’s back line before guiding a perfect cross from freshman midfielder Valentin Noel past junior goalkeeper Colin Shutler. 

It was only Virginia’s third conceded goal on the year and just their second time going behind.

However, much of the first half was controlled by the Cavaliers. They kept the ball mostly in Pittsburgh’s half of the field and held an eight to three shot advantage at the half.

The Cavaliers just missed an opportunity at the buzzer when a floating through ball found streaking sophomore forward Daniel Steedman’s feet at the top of the box. The pressured shot was pushed wide left, and Virginia headed to the locker room with its first halftime deficit of the season.

Much of the same continued in the second half as the Cavaliers held possession and generated several scoring opportunities. It was the Panthers, though, that found the back of the net.

A driven diagonal ball was played into the box to junior forward Edward Kizza — who played it back across to junior forward Alexander Dexter. Dexter buried it far post past a helpless Shutler.

Following the goal, the Cavaliers continued to apply pressure, as they racked up a 14 to 5 shot advantage. Most notably, Virginia also held 63 percent of the game’s possession. 

However, Virginia was never able to create any chances that made sophomore goalkeeper Johan Penaranda really work. 

“Pitt is a good team and we knew that coming in,” Coach George Gelnovatch said. “It’s sport, they had two moments in the game and scored both times. Whether it’s baseball, football … that happens, it’s sport. We’ve taken care of that all season long and we’ll move forward [from this].”

The result will certainly be a tough one to swallow for a Cavalier team that is currently No. 1 in the nation, as it came at the hands of a largely underwhelming Pittsburgh team so far this year. 

While the team had aspirations of an undefeated season, Virginia will have plenty to play for in the coming weeks as it wraps up its regular season schedule and heads into the postseason.

The Cavaliers will resume play at Klockner Stadium Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Saint Louis. The game will be televised on ACC Network Extra.


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