No. 17 West Virginia Tops No. 11 Virginia, 1-0, in Season Opener
GERMANTOWN, Md. – The No. 11 Virginia men’s soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 17 West Virginia Friday in the ACC/Big East Challenge in the regular season opener at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md.
“West Virginia is easily the most athletic team we will play this season. We didn’t deal with that well, particularly in the first half and especially with a couple of guys out,” Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. “We did a better job against it in the second half and played better over the final 30 minutes a man down. Our response was good and we had some good chances in the last 30 minutes.”
WVU’s Eric Schoenle scored the game’s lone goal in the waning seconds of the first half to provide the final margin. WVU posted an 11-3 edge in shots, including 5-0 on shots on goal. WVU also held a 6-4 edge in corner kicks.
West Virginia controlled play for much of the first half, yet neither team put a shot on goal until WVU’s Travis Pittman hit a roller in the 27th minute which UVa goalkeeper Spencer LaCivita easily corralled.
The Mountaineers broke through for the match’s lone goal with just 22 seconds remaining in the first half. After a Shadow Sebele corner kick toward the back post, Eric Schoenle headed it home to the far corner. WVU out-shot UVa, 6-0, in the first half.
Virginia’s comeback attempt was dealt a major blow in the 55th minute when Hunter Jumper was sent off after earning his second yellow card. Despite playing a man down for most of the second half, UVa put considerably more pressure on the WVU defense during the final 45 minutes. UVa took four corners and three shots in the second half after recording none of either in the first half.
UVa’s best scoring opportunity came in the 66th minute following an Ari Dimas corner kick. Freshman Eric Bird put a head on it, but the ball clanged off the near post.
LaCivita came up with a sprawling save in 88th minute after Nick Claudio broke free from the UVa defense, keeping the Cavaliers in the game. LaCivita finished with four saves in his college debut.
Virginia returns home at 7 p.m. Monday to face Richmond at Klöckner Stadium. It marks the Cavaliers’ lone home match in the first five games this year.