The Virginia men’s soccer team fell to James Madison 1-0 on Sept. 21 night in Harrisonburg. The game was scoreless for over 100 minutes, before the Dukes (6-2-0, 2-0-0 CAA) finally broke through in double overtime to hand the Cavaliers (2-4-1, 0-2-0 ACC) their second consecutive double overtime loss to an in-state rival. A few days later, Virginia fell victim to another late rally — this time by North Carolina who scored twice in the last 12 minutes of play.
Loss to James Madison
Sophomore Leo Afonso fired the first shot of the game for the Cavaliers in the fifth minute, but graduate goalkeeper Martin Leu came up with the save to keep Afonso off the board. Despite the early chance for Virginia, James Madison dominated the rest of the first half.
The Dukes outshot the Cavaliers 8-2 in the first half and took all five corner kicks. Sophomore goalkeeper Holden Brown came up big for the Cavaliers to keep the game scoreless, stopping all five of the Dukes’ shots on target.
James Madison continued to dictate play in the second half, outshooting Virginia 10-4. Brown made two more saves in the second half, and the two sides headed to overtime after neither was able to break through.
Neither team did much in the first 10-minute overtime period, with James Madison totaling the only two shots of the period, although neither were on target.
The second overtime period played out in a similar manner, with neither team looking too threatening to score a goal. However, with less than two minutes remaining in the match, junior defender Melker Anshelm scored a goal off of a corner kick to give the Dukes the win.
Overall, James Madison outshot Virginia 24-7 and won the corner kick battle 9-6. Brown made nine saves for the Cavaliers, while Leu stopped both of Virginia’s shots on target. Afonso led the Cavaliers with four shots in total.
Loss to North Carolina
After the heartbreaking loss to James Madison, the men’s soccer team traveled home to compete against the Tar Heels (5-2-1, 1-2-0 ACC) on Sept. 25 — a game the Cavaliers lost 0-2 at Klöckner Stadium. North Carolina scored two goals in the final 12 minutes to break the deadlock and win the match. The Cavaliers are now 0-3 in ACC play this fall.
The first half of the game was highly contested, with both teams trading scoring opportunities. The Tar Heels had a good early chance on goal in the 13th minute, but fifth-year forward Santiago Herrera’s shot to the bottom right of the goal was saved by Brown. In the 28th minute, graduate forward Daniel Wright got a shot on goal off of a Virginia corner kick, but it was saved by graduate student goalkeeper Alec Smir. At the end of the first half, North Carolina held a 6-4 advantage in shots, but neither team had been able to find the back of the net.
The Tar Heels generated more offensive opportunities in the second half, outshooting Virginia 9-3 and taking six corner kicks while the Cavaliers had none. In the 78th minute, a handball in the box by junior midfielder Jeremy Verley resulted in a penalty kick for North Carolina, and Herrera placed the ball past Brown to give the Tar Heels a late lead.
North Carolina then put the game out of reach in the 84th minute, adding on a critical second goal. Fifth-year forward Alex Rose gained possession on a breakaway after a Virginia defender headed the ball backwards and scored to put the Tar Heels up 2-0 with less than six minutes to go. The final score ended with North Carolina on top 2-0. The Tar Heels outshot the Cavaliers 15-7 in the match and held an advantage of 10-1 in corner kicks.
“We have to stay resilient,” Coach George Gelnovatch said. “We were in the game for 78 minutes before that really strange handball that turned this game on its head. I thought we were doing great. We were battling and competing in the game, but I can say that for the past four or five games. We just have to get through it.”
Virginia returns to Klöckner Stadium Tuesday night for a matchup against VCU. The game is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ACCNX.