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Virginia plays to second consecutive 1-1 draw against Boston College

The Cavaliers had to stage yet another comeback in order to earn a result

<p>The Cavaliers were able to equalize in the second half for the second straight match to preserve their unbeaten streak.</p>

The Cavaliers were able to equalize in the second half for the second straight match to preserve their unbeaten streak.

Virginia men’s soccer played its first road game in two weeks Friday, traveling to Chestnut Hill, Mass. for an Atlantic Coast Conference clash with Boston College. The Cavaliers (6-3-3, 2-2-1) fell behind for the second straight match but battled back in the late stages to keep the Eagles (3-4-4, 0-3-2) waiting for their first conference win of 2023. 

Despite dropping two points to the last-place team in the ACC, Coach George Gelnovatch believes the result was good for Virginia. The Cavaliers moved within three points of Notre Dame at the top of the ACC Coastal with three games remaining. 

“This was a good point on the road against a tough ACC opponent,” Gelnovatch said. “I thought a fair result would be three points tonight, but any time you can get a point on the road in this conference, that’s a good thing.”

Virginia had yet to earn a point on the road in conference play this season before Friday. Although Boston College is one of the weaker teams on their slate, the Cavaliers may look back on this game as a crucial result when the standings settle at the end of the season. 

As for the contest itself, Virginia was ultimately unlucky not to win outright. The Cavaliers outshot the Eagles 9-5, including four shots on frame to only two for the hosts. 

While the first half did not provide much action on either end, Virginia looked more inclined in the attacking third. Sophomore midfielder Umberto Pelà nearly scored from long distance on multiple occasions, rifling an outside-the-box shot just past the post in the 24th minute before having another such effort blocked in the 28th minute.

Despite the Cavaliers’ promising first period, Boston College turned the game on its head in the 64th minute. Sophomore midfielder Augustine Boadi let loose on a long shot that stung Virginia’s crossbar and was promptly punched clear by junior goalkeeper Joey Batrouni.

However, Batrouni could not get the ball fully out of the danger area, as sophomore defender CJ Williams took advantage of a lucky bounce and sent a shot beyond the outstretched hands of Batrouni into the back of the net. Williams’ shot put the Eagles into a 1-0 advantage with just under 30 minutes remaining.

But for the second game running, Virginia showed resilience after conceding the first goal. Just 12 minutes after going behind, junior defender Paul Wiese found freshman forward Stephen Annor Gyamfi in the center of the box with a curling cross. Gyamfi reacted quickly, leaping into the air and directing his header into the top left corner for an impressive equalizing goal.

The goal was Gyamfi’s team-leading seventh on the season, and his sixth in the last seven matches. The freshman is making a name for himself up top as senior forward Leo Afonso continues to nurse a long-term injury. 

In the final stages of the match, the Cavaliers applied severe pressure in an attempt to grab a late winning goal. Sophomore defender Reese Miller had a strike saved by junior goalkeeper Brennan Klein in the 87th minute, which represented the last action for both sides. 

Virginia has outshot its opponents by a combined 21-12 in its last two matches but has no wins to show for it. While avoiding defeat is always positive — which the Cavaliers have now done in four consecutive matches, their longest such streak this season – Virginia will need to turn around what has been a season-long drought in attacking clinicality if they want to push for the ACC Coastal title and a bid to the NCAA Tournament next month. 

The Cavaliers’ next opportunity for victory comes Oct. 13 when they host No. 16 Pittsburgh at Klöckner Stadium in Charlottesville. The match is set to kick off at 7 p.m. and will be streamed on ACC Network.


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