No. 4 men’s soccer defeated North Carolina 2-1 in overtime on a chilly evening at Klockner Stadium Friday night. The Cavaliers (14-1-1, 6-1-1 ACC) clinched the ACC Coastal Division with the win against the Tar Heels (7-7-3, 3-5-0 ACC).
The Cavaliers’ offense was rolling early. In the fifth minute, junior forward Irakoze Donasiyano was played into space with a through ball and sent a pinpoint cross to sophomore forward Daryl Dike near the penalty spot. Dike headed past Tar Heel sophomore goalkeeper Alec Smir for his team-leading seventh goal of the season.
After their first goal, the Cavaliers immediately looked to pad their lead. Over the next several minutes, junior forward Nathaniel Crofts and freshman forward Axel Gunnarsson both fired shots on goal but Smir saved both to keep North Carolina in the game.
In the 15th minute, the Tar Heels finally had their first shot on goal, but North Carolina freshman forward Jonathan Jimenez sent it straight at junior goalkeeper Colin Shutler.
Just under 10 minutes later, in the 24th minute, Tar Heel freshman defender Blake Malone fouled Cavalier senior defender Robin Afamefuna just outside the 18-yard box. However, sophomore forward Daniel Steedman — known for his free-kick prowess — sent the ball sailing over the crossbar.
The Tar Heels continued to prod at the Cavalier defense in the latter stages of the first half. In the 29th minute, Jimenez had another chance on goal as he sped past the Virginia defense, but the center-back pairing of junior Henry Kessler and freshman Andreas Ueland chased him down.
After 45 minutes of play, the Cavaliers outshot the Tar Heels 10-3, with four shots on goal to North Carolina’s one.
The second half started off relatively quiet for both teams, as they battled for possession in the middle third of the field.
In the 64th minute, junior defender Spencer Patton — playing as a forward in this match — had Virginia’s first shot on goal of the second half. Patton sent a low shot under a jumping Dike at the North Carolina goal, but it was easily picked up by Smir.
In the 78th minute, the Tar Heels finally broke through the Virginia defense — scoring just the fifth goal allowed by the Cavaliers all season. After failed clearances in the 18-yard box by Virginia, North Carolina senior midfielder Jeremy Kelly took a shot from six yards out that was saved by Shutler. Subsequently, junior midfielder Raul Aguilera took advantage of the rebound, sending the ball over a diving Shutler and tying the game at 1-1.
Three minutes later, a scuffle broke out between the two teams after a foul on Dike, resulting in yellow cards for Tar Heel junior defender Mark Salas and Kessler. After the scuffle, the more than 2,000 fans at Klockner began to erupt in support of the Cavaliers as they searched for a second goal.
However, neither team was able to find a second goal as time expired, and the match headed into overtime. In the second half the Tar Heels outshot the Cavaliers 9-2 — carrying the momentum heading into the first overtime period.
In the 94th minute, North Carolina’s Aguilera almost had his second goal of the game. The Florida native took a shot from 25 yards out that was saved by a leaping Shutler.
With 42 seconds left in the first overtime period, Ueland tapped in an off-target shot past Smir for the first goal of his Virginia career — giving the Cavaliers their 14th win of the season.
“Couldn’t have gotten the goal at a better time,” Ueland said. “I’ve had a lot of chances — at least three times — but to get this goal in overtime, it’s an incredible feeling.”
Along with winning the Coastal Division, Virginia has also secured the No. 2 seed in the ACC Tournament. As the second-highest seed, Cavaliers will host their second round match along with the semifinal match, should they advance. The final will be played at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
Virginia will play the winner of No. 7 Syracuse and No. 10 North Carolina Nov. 10 at Klockner Stadium in the second round of the 2019 ACC Tournament. Kick-off time is 1 p.m., and the match will be broadcast live on ACC Network.