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Virginia men’s soccer escapes with 1-1 draw against No. 16 Hofstra

The 10-men Cavaliers used a late goal to draw level with the Pride

<p>Senior midfielder Mouhameth Thiam scored the equalizing goal for the Cavaliers Tuesday</p>

Senior midfielder Mouhameth Thiam scored the equalizing goal for the Cavaliers Tuesday

Virginia men’s soccer played its third consecutive match at Klöckner Stadium Tuesday, looking to finish out a nearly perfect homestand against Hofstra. Despite outshooting the No. 16 Pride (8-1-3, 2-0-2 CAA) 12-7, the Cavaliers (6-3-2, 2-2 ACC) had to battle back in the second half just to earn themselves a 1-1 draw.

Coach George Gelnovatch was impressed by the resolve his team showed in the latter stages of the game Tuesday, especially after senior midfielder Daniel Mangarov was sent off with a red card early in the second half. 

“I’m super proud of the fight back being down a man and scoring a goal against a team that was quite happy putting 10 field players behind the ball and making it really tough,” Gelnovatch said. “I give our guys a ton of credit to score on that team and come out of here with a tie given the situation.”

Virginia was already trailing when Mangarov received his ejection, making the game a difficult one for Gelnovatch to plan out tactically. The Cavaliers needed to score at least one goal to come away with a result, but pushing too many players forward while down a man risked further punishment for Virginia on the defensive end. 

To Gelnovatch’s point, Hofstra’s unwillingness to push on for more goals ultimately aided the Cavaliers in their comeback efforts. Without as much worry about potential leaks in the defensive third, Virginia was able to neutralize its numbers disadvantage by keeping the attacking pressure on. Sure enough, the equalizing goal came for the Cavaliers just two minutes after Mangarov left the pitch. 

But before any of the eventful moments of the second half, Virginia was commanding possession right from the first whistle. With a strong offensive start, it got off eight shots throughout the first half compared to Hofstra’s two. 

Within just 17 minutes of play, however, the Cavaliers faced a challenge when the Pride earned a free kick. Senior forward Ryan Carmichael was able to take advantage of the opportunity, and his attempt made it around the Virginia wall to give Hofstra a 1-0 advantage. 

The Cavaliers remained consistent, however, and continued to fight hard against the Pride. Both sophomore midfielder Umberto Pelà and senior defender Will Citron proved crucial in forcing the Hofstra goalkeeper into tough situations. 

Senior midfielder Mouhameth Thiam almost got Virginia on the board when he received the ball just outside the penalty area and fired his shot toward the far post. The shot was blocked by senior goalkeeper Wessel Speel, however, and the Cavaliers went into the first half down 1-0. 

Still trailing by a goal when Mangarov was sent off 10 minutes into the second half, Thiam and Virginia turned the game on its head just moments later. 

In the 58th minute, graduate student midfielder Jack Singer received a pass from Thiam, who ran down the right side and received the ball back from Singer. With space to get a shot away, Thiam fired his effort into the bottom corner to give Virginia a crucial equalizing goal. The play gave Singer his first collegiate assist, and it was Thiam’s second goal of the season. 

The Cavaliers defended confidently for the final 30 minutes, seeing out a tie in a game that easily could have gone the way of the Pride. Junior goalkeeper Joey Batrouni was important yet again for Virginia, making four saves just days after his stunning six-save performance against Louisville. 

Pulling out a result against a ranked opponent is never an easy task, and that task is made much more difficult when playing a man down for the final 35 minutes of the match. For all that seemed to go against the Cavaliers, they showed tremendous resolve to not only keep the game competitive but also find a goal and avoid defeat. 

If nothing else, Tuesday acted as a way to keep Virginia warm in the wake of a season-defining stretch of upcoming fixtures. The Cavaliers are soon to face three consecutive conference opponents – including Virginia Tech Oct. 20 in the Commonwealth Clash – over the next two weeks. This stage of the season represents the most important games Virginia will play, and fans should be optimistic after seeing the team’s recent form. 

Virginia will look to continue their longest unbeaten streak of the season Friday against Boston College. The Cavaliers will head to Chestnut Hill, Mass. for a road matchup with the Eagles, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. 


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