The Virginia men’s soccer team fell 3-1 to Syracuse Friday night at Klöckner Stadium. The Orange (3-2-0, 1-0-0 ACC) scored two quick goals in the first half, and the Cavaliers (2-2-1, 0-1-0 ACC) were unable to rally. Days later, on Tuesday night, Virginia faced off against UNC Greensboro (3-2-1, 0-0 SoCon) at Klöckner Stadium. After 90 minutes of play and two overtime periods, neither team was able to get on the board and the game ended in a 0-0 tie.
Home loss to Syracuse
Syracuse struck first in the sixth minute off a goal from sophomore forward Deandre Kerr. Kerr intercepted a pass just outside the box and curled a shot past sophomore goalkeeper Holden Brown to put the Orange ahead.
Syracuse kept the pressure on and added a second goal in the 19th minute. The Orange won a corner and graduate defender Max Kent buried a header past Brown to extend Syracuse’s lead to two.
After struggling to create chances early, Virginia finally found a breakthrough in the 23rd minute. The Cavaliers went on a counterattack and freshman defender Paul Wiese played a cross to sophomore forward Leo Afonso, who was able to tap the ball past graduate goalkeeper Lucas Daunhauer for the goal. Neither team created any significant chances for the remainder of the half, and the Orange headed into the break with a 2-1 lead.
Syracuse almost restored its two-goal lead early in the second half, but Brown came up with a big save from point blank range against freshman midfielder Curt Calov to keep the deficit at one.
Virginia kept the pressure on in hopes of finding an equalizer and came close to doing so in the 58th minute. Junior forward and midfielder Kevin Ogudugu fired a strike from outside the box, but Daunhauer was there to save it. The Cavaliers nearly scored on the ensuing corner, but a header went just wide of the post.
Kerr struck again for the Orange in the 75th minute, scoring off another defensive turnover from the Cavaliers to make the score 3-1 and put the game out of reach.
“We made really bad mistakes on the first goal and the third goal,” Coach George Gelnovatch said. “We gifted them and they made us pay. The second goal was a restart and on top of that, give Syracuse credit because they brought a man-to-man quality all over the field and pressure all over the field.”
Home draw against UNC Greensboro
UNC Greensboro started the game off on the offensive, generating a couple of quality scoring opportunities in the first 14 minutes of play. In the 10th minute, graduate student midfielder Theo Quartey sent a dangerous ball into the six yard box but no Spartan player was able to capitalize on the play. Sophomore midfielder Daniel Mangarov had another great chance for UNC Greensboro in the 16th minute, but his shot from the top of the box went just wide of the goal.
Virginia then regained some control over the match and was able to generate some scoring chances of its own, but none found the back of the net. Sophomore forward and midfielder Kaya Ignacio’s shot in the 19th minute went wide and a chance by Afonso in the 36th minute was saved by sophomore goalkeeper Niclas Wild.
The second half remained scoreless as both teams traded shots on goal. The Spartan’s shot on goal in the 55th minute on a corner kick was saved by Brown. The Cavaliers had three shots in the last 15 minutes of regulation but all went wide of the net. UNC Greensboro had a dangerous scoring chance in the final two minutes of the game, but Brown came up with another save to send the scoreless game to overtime.
Virginia had one of its best looks on goal with three minutes left in the second overtime period. In the 107th minute of the game, Ogudugu settled the ball in the box and took a low shot towards the bottom left corner of the goal but Wild made a diving save to stop the shot. The game ended at a 0-0 draw after neither team was able to break through to get a goal.
“I’m proud of the performance. UNC Greensboro is a very good team and I think on the night, it is an ACC opponent,” Gelnovatch said. “Yes we want to win, but I understand the dynamic of our team and the youngness … The first 18 minutes affected us a little bit, having some young guys out there against a very good team. I’m proud of the energy, intensity and the battle.”
Up next, the Cavaliers head to Blacksburg this Friday for a rivalry match versus Virginia Tech. Kickoff for the Commonwealth Clash is set for 7 p.m.