GOOOOAAALLL!!! A beautiful sequence leads to Axel Gunnarsson’s second goal of the year!
— Virginia Men's Soccer (@UVAMenSoccer) December 7, 2019
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Junior Joe Bell (Wanaka, New Zealand) scored the game-winning goal on a rebound of his own penalty kick attempt in overtime to give top-seeded Virginia (20-1-1) a 3-2 win over eighth-seeded SMU (18-2-1) at Klöckner Stadium on Friday night (Dec. 6). The victory clinched Virginia’s 13th College Cup appearance and first since 2014.
The Cavaliers will advance to play the winner of Wake Forest and UCSB that is scheduled for Saturday night (Dec. 7) at 5 p.m. in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Bell capped off a wild finish that saw a combined four goals in the final 24:24 of the match. He came into the final kick a perfect 5-for-5 on the season in PKs including one in the 78th minute to put the Cavaliers up 2-1. Sophomore Daryl Dike (Edmond, Okla.) setup both of the of Bell’s penalty kick goals by drawing fouls inside the box.
“That was just a good soccer game,” head coach George Gelnovatch said. “I have a lot of respect for them (SMU). There were a lot of goals in the game, a lot of momentum swings, some good football and some good players out there. I thought that was a pretty good representation (for both teams).”
Virginia took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break thanks to the second goal of the season by Axel Gunnarsson (Gothenburg, Sweden) 18 minutes into the match. Gunnarsson was the beneficiary of a beautiful passing sequence that began on the Virginia side of the field. Dike and Irakoze Donasiyano (Roanoke, Va.) were credited with assists on the play.
The Cavaliers looked to have control of the game until the Mustangs were able to level the match on a penalty kick conversion by Gabriel Costa in the 71st minute. SMU was awarded the PK after a UVA hand ball in the box. It was only the first goal scored on the Cavaliers in 320 minutes of game action and the first of the NCAA Tournament.
The Cavaliers went ahead for the second time in the match on Bell’s first goal of the night exactly five minutes later. SMU, the nation’s second-highest scoring offense, once again was able to knot the game up, this time with 6:27 left in regulation.
Virginia outshot SMU 18-7 in the match and held a 7-3 edge in corner kicks.
The NCAA College Cup will take place in Cary, N.C. at WakeMed Soccer Park. Semifinal matches will be played on Friday (Dec. 10) and the final will be on Sunday (Dec. 12). All three matches will air on ESPNU. Game times will be announced after the conclusion of the quarterfinal round.
• Virginia improved to 3-0-1 in overtime games this season and are 15-0 when leading at the half.
• The Cavaliers finished off their home slate 15-1, the most home wins in college soccer. The 15 wins also match a school record set in 1995.
• The Cavaliers now own a nine-game win streak, the longest in college soccer.
• The two goals by SMU were the first scored by a non-ACC opponent this season. Virginia had been unscored upon in its previous 10 matches against non-ACC foes. The multi-goal effort by the Mustangs was only second surrendered by Virginia in the last 24 games.
• The two goals for Bell were a career high and marks the second-straight game a Cavalier has put forth a multi-goal match. Bell is the 19th Cavalier to score two or more goals in an NCAA match.
• Dike has drawn fouls that have led to seven Cavalier goals this season and also leads the team with seven he’s scored himself.