Sophomore Nathaniel Crofts (Sheffield, England) scored twice in the final 12:24 to lift Virginia (10-3-3) to a 2-0 victory over Furman (13-7-2) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers advance to play seventh-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday, November 25 at 5 p.m
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Sophomore Nathaniel Crofts (Sheffield, England) scored twice in the final 12:24 to lift Virginia (10-3-3) to a 2-0 victory over Furman (13-7-2) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers advance to play seventh-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday, November 25 at 5 p.m.
Crofts broke the stalemate in the 78th minute on a feed from Daryl Dike (Edmond, Okla.), giving Virginia its first lead since Oct. 20, when the Cavaliers were up 2-1 on No. 1 Wake Forest. The second-year forward added another in the 85th minute a perfect lead pass from Kennedy Nwabia (Owerri, Nigeria).
GOOOOAAALLL!! Nathaniel Crofts gives Virginia a 1-0 lead with a little over 13 minutes to play! His third of the season! pic.twitter.com/7LLLg6RvLx
— Virginia Men’s Soccer (@UVAMenSoccer) November 18, 2018
“It was a big relief to see that first goal go in,” head coach George Gelnovatch said. “We talked about not getting too frustrated in that regard but you could see it was a big sigh of relief for the whole team.”
Crofts became the first multi-goal scorer in the NCAA Tournament for UVA since Will Bates recorded a hat trick in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament against Bucknell. Crofts takes over the team lead in points with 14 (4g, 6a) and recorded his first two-goal performance of his career.
Goalkeeper Marcel DaSilva (Ormond Beach, Fla.) made his Virginia debut in goal, recording the team’s ninth shutout. The junior transfer made four saves, including two on the doorstep in the final eight minutes.
The Cavaliers had been applying the pressure on the offensive end for most of the match, holding a 7-1 shot advantage in the first half and a 15-5 edge for the game. Crofts led the team in shots with five and prior to scoring the go-ahead goal, had his shot deflected just outside the left post in the opening minutes of the second frame.
“I felt like the vibe was still good (after near misses in first half and early second). I felt like we would get more chances, and the intensity and energy were off to a good start,” added Gelnovatch. “So, when you have that, I think you get more chances, and we did.”
Notre Dame and Michigan played to a 0-0 draw and the Irish advanced after 12 rounds of penalty kicks. Virginia and Notre Dame will meet for the third time in the NCAA Tournament.
• Sunday’s match against Furman was the first since Oct. 31 for Virginia, a total of 17 days in between games, the longest stretch in between games in school history.
• The Cavaliers advance to the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament for third time in the last six seasons.
• Virginia has been one of the final 16 teams 12 times under George Gelnovatch (23 seasons)
• Crofts is the second multi-goal scorer for Virginia this season (Daryl Dike vs. Denver on 10/8/18)
• UVA is 5-1-3 when tied at the half.
• Besides Joe Bell’s game-winner in the 90th minute in the season opener, the two Virginia goals were the only tallies past the 75th minute this year.
• Sunday’s match was the first ever meeting between Furman and Virginia. The Cavaliers improve to 25-1 against current SoCon schools.
• The victory clinches the 10th win of the season for UVA, the Cavaliers have reached double-digit wins every year under George Gelnovatch.