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No. 5 men’s soccer and Virginia Tech end in 1-1 stalemate following double overtime nailbiter

The Cavaliers tied the match late in the second half but stellar defensive play from both squads led to a draw in the rivalry’s latest installment

<p>Senior forward Irakoze Donasiyano had his first career penalty-kick attempt saved in the 60th minute.&nbsp;</p>

Senior forward Irakoze Donasiyano had his first career penalty-kick attempt saved in the 60th minute. 

No. 5 Virginia men’s soccer drew Virginia Tech 1-1 in Blacksburg, Va. in a game that went to double overtime. The Cavaliers (1-0-1, 1-0-1 ACC) evened up the score in the second half following graduate student midfielder Joan Gilbert’s first career goal, extending Virginia’s unbeaten streak against the Hokies (0-1-1, 0-1-1 ACC) to 16 matches.

Coming off of a double overtime win against Louisville, Virginia was challenged with another intense matchup, this time against a key in-state rival, Virginia Tech. The Hokies were the more aggressive of the two squads throughout the match, attempting 23 shots to Virginia’s 12 and challenging All-ACC graduate student goalkeeper Colin Shutler all evening. 

Virginia Tech dominated possession throughout the first half and was able to generate more corners and set piece actions, forcing Virginia to retreat and play a defensive game. In what became a defining theme of the match, Virginia Tech’s advantage in offensive aggression compromised their accuracy, as they only mustered one more shot on goal than the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers were able to tame the Hokies’ aggressive start, however, as both teams entered halftime without scoring. The second half featured more balanced possession times between the two teams with the Cavaliers getting into the flow of the game by playing at a faster pace and generating more scoring opportunities offensively. Defensively, Virginia was able to further slow the Hokies’ initial aggressive approach.

In the 60th minute, the Cavaliers had their chance, as a handball by Virginia Tech in its 18-yard box gave Virginia a penalty-kick opportunity. Nonetheless, senior forward Irakoze Donasiyano had his shot saved by Hokie sophomore goalkeeper Matt Zambetti, keeping the teams scoreless. 

Nonetheless, the Hokies broke the seal late in the second half as they drove quickly down the field and benefited from shrewd passing, leading to a score by Virginia Tech junior forward Khalil Dover in the 76th minute to take a 1-0 lead.

Less than 90 seconds later, Virginia was awarded a free kick near the left corner of the 18-yard box, which was whipped in by Gilbert. His strike initially deflected off of a Hokie defender and looped into the far side of the goal, edging the keeper and tying the game at 1-1. The teams continued to vie for a game-winning goal, but neither squad was able to find it despite the Cavaliers benefitting from a late second yellow card for Hokie forward Jacob Labovitz that gave them a man advantage. 

Despite the Cavaliers entering overtime with a one player advantage, neither team could generate much offensive momentum in overtime with each team taking just three shots in both periods. The Cavaliers nearly scored a goal in the 105th minute off of a header from sophomore defender Andreas Ueland, but the shot was ultimately corralled by Zambetti. The teams would end the match in a 1-1 draw. 

Virginia has now seen four of its last five matches spill into overtime dating back to last season, and will have to work to finish games in a 90-minute frame in order to make the dream of back-to-back ACC Championships a reality. 

The Cavaliers now fix their attention to No. 2 Pittsburgh, as the Panthers come to Charlottesville for a top-5 ACC heavyweight bout. Kickoff at Klöckner Stadium is slated for 7:30 p.m. Sunday and the match will be broadcast live on ACC Network Extra.