Virginia men’s soccer kicked off the second half of its 2020-21 season Monday afternoon at Klockner Stadium with a 3-0 shutout of George Mason. The Cavaliers (4-4-1, 3-4-1 ACC) took the lead with two early goals at the eight and 11 minute marks before finishing off the Patriots (0-2, 0-0 Atlantic-10) with their third and final goal in the 34th minute.
Virginia is returning to action after competing in the ACC-only fall season, finishing with a record of 3-4-1 and advancing to the semifinals of the conference tournament. George Mason did not play any games in the fall and dropped its season opener to James Madison at home 3-0.
The Cavaliers took off running with an early goal from sophomore forward Axel Gunnarson in the eighth minute. Junior defender Oliver Gerbig got the play started with a long ball over the top to sophomore forward Kevin Ogudugu, who took the ball down the right side of the field and into the box before crossing the ball to Gunnarson, who finished it into the back of the net. Gunnarson now holds the team lead in goals scored with three on the season.
Less than three minutes later, Ogudugu recorded his first career goal for Virginia. In the 11th minute, sophomore defender Andreas Ueland set up Ogudugu with a long lead pass down the field, leaving Ogudugu with only freshman goalkeeper Jackson Lee to beat. Ogudugu slotted the ball past Lee to give the Cavaliers a 2-0 advantage in a little under 11 minutes.
Virginia sealed the win in the 34th minute with a goal from redshirt freshman Nick Berghold. Sophomore midfielder Jeremy Verley served a corner kick to the waiting Berghold who headed the ball just inside the back post and past Lee.
“Great win, it’s always good to score three goals and have a clean sheet,” Coach George Gelnovatch said. “It’s a great starting point for opening up the spring. The big takeaway for this game is the way we started. The game, particularly in the first half, had great energy. [We] got a lot of young guys that started the game and a lot of the young guys onto the field [in the match].”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cavaliers recorded their third shutout of the season and the second clean sheet for redshirt freshman Alex Rando. Rando takes over the starting job for graduate student goalkeeper Colin Shutler, who is pursuing a professional career in the MLS with FC Dallas. The Virginia defense held the Patriots to only 10 shots in the game and only three on target.
Two Cavaliers made their debuts during the match. Freshman midfielder Julian Aguilar saw his first collegiate action in the 71st minute as a substitute. Sophomore defender William Citron, a transfer from Cornell in January 2021, started the game and played all 90 minutes.
Virginia begins ACC play Sunday when it hosts Notre Dame in Charlottesville. During the fall season, the Cavaliers traveled to South Bend and were defeated 1-2 in double overtime. Kickoff for the rematch between the two teams is set for 1 p.m. at Klockner Stadium.