Dec. 6, 2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE — If UVa coach George Gelnovatch is experiencing déjà vu, it’s understandable.
In the ACC men’s soccer tournament last month, his team faced Maryland in the round of eight and Wake Forest in the semifinals. (The Cavaliers beat N.C. State in the title game.)
Fast forward to the NCAA tournament. The Wahoos faced — and beat — Maryland in the quarterfinals. Next up for second-seeded Virginia (17-3-3) is a semifinal date with third-seeded Wake (17-3-3) at Cary, N.C.
“So it’s same road,” Gelnovatch said Sunday afternoon. “We just gotta do it twice.”
UVa and Wake will meet in the 5 p.m. semifinal Friday at WakeMed Soccer Park. Top-seeded Akron and No. 5 seed North Carolina will follow at 7:30 p.m.
The Demon Deacons beat UCLA on Saturday night to advance to the College Cup for the fourth straight season. For the Cavaliers, this is their first appearance in the final four since 2006.
In their regular-season matchup, UVa edged Wake 1-0 on Sept. 18 in Winston-Salem. Neither team scored in their ACC tourney meeting, but the ‘Hoos advanced on penalty kicks.
“I haven’t seen Wake since we played them, but I feel like we are better than we were,” Gelnovatch said. “We actually made progress in the ACC tournament. Ari Dimas was not starting in the first round of the ACC tournament, and by the end he became a starter.
“You can get development in your team this late in the season, where guys are still emerging and becoming part of your team, and we got two or three of those kind of guys,” including Dimas and Jordan Evans.
“We’ve gotten better all year, but even since the ACC tournament we’ve gotten better,” Gelnovatch said. “From a coaching standpoint, we’re better than the last time we played Wake. From the first time to the second time we were better, and from the second time to the third time we’re better. I feel good about that.”