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Men’s soccer falls to No. 11 Maryland in the ‘Battle for the DMV’

Despite an early goal, the Cavaliers were unable to hang on for the victory

<p>Freshman forward Michael Tsicoulias scored the Cavaliers' lone goal in the 26th minute.&nbsp;</p>

Freshman forward Michael Tsicoulias scored the Cavaliers' lone goal in the 26th minute. 

Virginia men’s soccer lost its first game of the season Monday night against Maryland. The Cavaliers (2-1-0, 0-0-0 ACC) faced off against the Terrapins (4-0-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten) at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. for the third annual “Battle for the DMV” match. Despite jumping out to an early lead, the Cavaliers were unable to pull off the upset victory after a strong second half by Maryland.

After a scoreless and even start to the game, freshman forward Michael Tsicoulias broke the deadlock in the 26th minute. Freshman defender Paul Wiese assisted the goal, passing the ball to Tsicoulias into the box, who settled it, made a move, and sent the ball into the back of the net. The goal was the first of Tsicoulias’s career at Virginia and gave the Cavaliers an important early lead in the game. 

Near the end of the first half, Virginia went down to 10 men after a foul by Daniel Wright in the 44th minute, resulting in a second yellow card and ejection from the game. Following the red card, the Cavaliers struggled to generate any offense and had only one shot in the second half. With the man advantage, Maryland was able to attack offensively and had 10 shots in the second half.

The Terrapins got on the board in the 61st minute after a penalty kick goal by sophomore midfielder Ben Bender. Junior forward Hunter George made a run in the box past junior midfielder Isaiah Byrd who took George down from behind and was called for a penalty. Bender took the penalty kick and placed the ball into the bottom right corner past sophomore goalkeeper Holden Brown to even the score at 1-1.

Maryland then took the lead in the 78th minute after a goal from distance by senior forward Brayan Padilla. Freshman midfielder Griffin Dillon and junior defender Chris Rindov assisted the goal with a one-touch pass to Padilla who struck the ball and curled it just past Brown. The goal gave the Terrapins a 2-1 lead and down to 10 men, the Cavaliers were unable to generate any offense for the remainder of the game. Maryland held on for a 2-1 victory, and evened the record in the “Battle for the DMV” series at 1-1-1.

“Maryland is a very good team, and it is hard to play down a man against a good team,” Coach George Gelnovatch said.  “For 44 minutes it was an even game, well-contested game and actually a very good game. So, I give them credit for a really good second goal, that was a quality shot from distance for the winner.”

Defensively, the Cavaliers relied heavily on Brown, junior defender Andreas Ueland, and senior defender Oliver Gerbig with all three players playing the entire game. Brown made a career high of nine saves in the match.

“[Holden Brown] is growing every game, just in his confidence and his presence, the qualities of saves that he’s making, the decisions that he’s making,” Gelnovatch said. “With each game he gets a bit more confident, and I think this game will help.”

The Cavaliers return home for a Friday night matchup against Syracuse to open ACC play. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium.

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