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Aug. 29, 2002

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Virginia men’s soccer team will begin the regular season portion of its schedule by hosting the 2002 Virginia Soccer Classic on Friday, August 30th before concluding tournament play on Sunday, September 1st. UVa, the host school of the tournament, will compete in the event with three other teams: the Maryland Terrapins (ACC), the Kentucky Wildcats (MAC) and the Rhode Island Rams (A-10). All four games of the tournament will be played at UVa’s Kl?ckner Stadium.

Virginia, ranked #2 in the Soccer America Preseason Top 25 and #5 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas Preseason Top 25, will face #25 Kentucky (#20 in the NSCAA/adidas poll) on Friday, August 25th at 7:30 p.m. before meeting Rhode Island on Sunday, September 1st at 2:30 p.m. Maryland, ranked #10 in the NSCAA/adidas Top 25, will play Rhode Island on Friday at 5:00 p.m. before facing Kentucky on Sunday at 12:00 noon.

Virginia is eager to step back onto the playing field following a 2001 season in which it 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 championship in men’s soccer. 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 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 went 0-2-0 in the preseason portion of its 2002 schedule after dropping a pair of games to two Big Ten opponents, Michigan State and #1 Indiana, in the 2002 IPFW Soccer Showcase. Virginia lost a 4-3 decision to Michigan State before dropping a 3-2 decision to Indiana. UVa held a 2-0 lead against MSU and a 2-1 lead against IU before falling to each opponent. To Virginia’s credit, the Cavaliers were playing without several key returning players and were without the services of all of their first-year players in the event.

Kentucky went 14-6-1 overall, 6-0-0 in the Mid-American Conference (men’s soccer member) in 2001 and Rhode Island finished 13-4-1, 9-2-0 in the Atlantic -10 last year. This will be Virginia’s first ever meeting in the regular season in men’s soccer against the Kentucky Wildcats. UVa leads the all-time series with Rhode Island 1-0-0. The Cavaliers and Rams faced off in their only meeting in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on November 19th, 1995 in Charlottesville, Va. at Kl?ckner Stadium. Virginia defeated Rhode Island by the score of 2-1 in that contest. Maryland finished 11-9-1 overall, 1-4-1 in the ACC last season.

Here is a look at the 2002 Virginia Soccer Classic Schedule:

2002 Virginia Soccer Classic Schedule

Date			Opponents			TimeFriday, August 30th  	Maryland vs. Rhode Island		5:00 PMFriday, August 30th 	Kentucky vs. Virginia		7:30 PMSunday, September 1st	Kentucky vs. Maryland		12:00 noonSunday, September 1st	Rhode Island vs. Virginia		2:30 PM

— UVa —

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