Virginia Men's Soccer Prepares For The 2002 Regular Season With Exhibition Games Against Michigan State and Indiana In The 2002 IPFW Soccer Showcase
Aug. 19, 2002
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Ready or not, here come the Virginia Cavaliers. In preparation for its 2002 regular season, the University of Virginia men’s soccer team will travel to Fort Wayne, Indiana to compete in two exhibition games in the 2002 IPFW Soccer Showcase. The third annual IPFW Soccer Showcase is being hosted by Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) at the Hefner Soccer Fields in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The six teams that make up the men’s field in the showcase are: Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan State, Oakland University and IPFW. UVa’s participation in the showcase marks the first time the Cavaliers will be competing in the event.
Virginia will face two opponents from the Big Ten Conference in the Michigan State Spartans and the Indiana Hoosiers in exhibition formatted contests. Neither of UVa’s games against MSU or IU will count in the Cavaliers’ regular season standings. UVa will face Michigan State on Friday, August 23rd at 8:30 p.m. and will meet Indiana on Sunday, August 25th at 12:00 noon. Both contests will be played at Hefner Soccer Fields.
Michigan State is coming off the heels of a 13-6-1 season in 2001, including a 3-3 mark in the Big Ten. Indiana, the 2001 national runner-up, turned in a record of 18-4-1 overall, 6-0-0 in the conference last year. IU ended its 2001 season with a loss to North Carolina in the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship in Columbus, Ohio. Both teams (Michigan State and Indiana) will provide Virginia with solid competition and will serve as a measuring stick for the UVa coaching staff to see how well the Cavaliers have developed and progressed in its preseason practices with the start of the 2002 season right around the corner.
Virginia has never met Michigan State in the regular season, but UVa has faced Indiana on seven occasions in regular season play. Virginia stands 2-4-1 (.357) all-time against the Hoosiers. However, both of the Cavaliers’ victories over the Hoosiers are associated with a “first” and a “last” time achievement in UVa men’s soccer history.
Virginia’s first victory over Indiana occurred on September 2, 1989 in the adidas/Met Life Classic in Bloomington, Indiana. The Cavaliers won that contest by the score of 1-0 and it marked the first win in the first game of the 1989 season for UVa, a year in which Virginia won its first of five national titles in men’s soccer. UVa’s second win over Indiana occurred six years later when again, the Cavaliers won by the score of 1-0, this time on December 11, 1994 in Davidson, North Carolina in the 1994 NCAA Championship. That win put the wraps on the fifth (and most recent) national title for the Cavaliers’ men’s soccer program. In short, Virginia’s first national championship season began with a 1-0 win over Indiana, and UVa’s last national championship season also ended with a 1-0 win over Indiana.
Another benefit for Virginia participating in the the 2002 IPFW Soccer Showcase is to get an up close look at its first opponent of the 2002 regular season – the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky, a member of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in men’s soccer, finished 14-6-1 overall, 6-0-0 in the MAC last season. The Cavaliers will host the Wildcats on Friday, August 30th at 7:30 p.m. in the second game of the 2002 Virginia Soccer Classic at Kl?ckner Stadium. Kentucky will also be facing Indiana and Michigan State in the showcase.
Virginia is eager to step back onto the playing field following a 2001 season in which in went 17-2-1 overall, 6-0-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. UVa went undefeated in the regular season with a record of 16-0-1, including its perfect 6-0-0 mark in the ACC. More impressive than going undefeated in the ever-competitive ACC was how the Cavaliers did it. Virginia became the first ACC men’s soccer team ever to win all of its conference games by shutout. UVa outscored its ACC foes by the count of 11-0 en route to its 6-0-0 record. The Cavaliers also earned a 1-0 overtime win over Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament before eventually falling to Seton Hall in the second round of the 2001 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championships a week later, a loss that ended Virginia’s season.
Despite finishing the last season without a conference tournament title or a national title, the 2001 season was an eventful one for UVa. The Cavaliers did claim the 2001 ACC regular season title and turned out the ACC Player of the Year (Kyle Martino) and the ACC Coach of the Year (George Gelnovatch). Five Virginia players were selected to the 2001 All-ACC Team as Martino, Alecko Eskandarian, Ryan Gibbs and Jonathan Cole gathered first team honors, while Matt Oliver claimed second team recognition. Martino and Sheldon Barnes were also named to the 2001 ACC All-Tournament team.
UVa returns seven starters and 14 letterwinners from last year’s squad in its quest for the school’s sixth national men’s soccer championship. Virginia appears poised to make a run at the national title with its abundance of talent, speed, quickness, skill and experience. Head coach George Gelnovatch knows and understands what it takes to win to national title, and the pieces appear to be in place once again for UVa to make a legitimate run at a another national title. Gelnovatch, a coach who is accustomed to winning, needs just one more victory to reach the 100-win plateau in his coaching career at Virginia. He stands 99-28-12 (.755) overall, including an impressive 23-7-6 (.722) mark in the ACC, and will become only the second coach in UVa men’s soccer history to record 100 victories with his next win.
Gelnovatch has directed each of the six teams he has coached at Virginia into the NCAA Tournament field, including a national runner-up finish in 1997. The two-time ACC Coach of the Year has a tough road ahead of him this year and also has a few holes to fill on this year’s team due to several key losses from last season. But like many times before, Virginia is reloading, not rebuilding, and should be right in the thick of things when the time comes around for a team to be crowned the 2002 National Champion.
— UVa —