CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 24 Virginia men’s soccer team (9-4-2, 5-1-1 ACC) defeated No. 25 Wake Forest (12-4, 4-3 ACC) on Saturday night (Oct. 22) at Klöckner Stadium as Leo Afonso and Phil Horton connected to deliver the victory and vault the Cavaliers to the top of the ACC standings on senior night.
63’ – Virginia: Leo Afonso (Phil Horton)
HOW IT HAPPENED:
After the pre-game celebration of Virginia’s 2022 senior class had died down and the opening whistle blew, it took both teams time to settle into the game as each looked to establish possession and control the midfield.
It was the Demon Deacons that took the first bit of sustained possession. Wake Forest applied pressure deep in the Cavaliers’ end of the field as the Demon Deacons rallied off four shots in the span of just six minutes. Wake Forest’s best chance of the first half came when a shot from Ryan Fessler clattered off the woodwork and fell to Roald Mitchell who smashed it over the bar.
Virginia grew into the game and created a handful of quality chances later on in the first half. Leo Afonso threatened to put the Cavaliers ahead with 19 minutes gone as the striker made a devastating cutback into the Wake Forest penalty area, but his curling shot was blocked by a defender.
Virginia began to assert itself as the second half progressed. It was only a matter of time before the Cavaliers broke through. With an impressive piece of skill in the midfield, Phil Horton darted past his defender and laid the perfect ball into Afonso who smashed his chance into the low corner of the goal to give the Cavaliers the lead with half an hour remaining.
The Cavaliers were able to remain resolute defensively as they withstood late pressure from Wake Forest to hold on to the victory and secure three crucial points.
FROM HEAD COACH GEORGE GELNOVATCH
“It’s always special to get a win on a night when we are celebrating our seniors. That was a great win for our team. Wake Forest is a really talented attacking team and not too many teams can shut them out like that in a game. Our team did a great job to get this win and put ourselves in a position to compete for our division and our conference.”
- With the win, Virginia moves into sole possession of first place in the ACC Coastal division
- Virginia also moves into a tie with Syracuse at the top of the ACC overall table with 16 points – Virginia’s head-to-head victory on Sept. 24 puts the Cavaliers ahead of the Orange
- The ACC victory marks George Gelnovatch’s 99th conference win with one more ACC contest on the schedule this season
- A victory at North Carolina on Friday (Oct. 28) would secure the top seed in the ACC Tournament for Virginia
- The win is Virginia’s fourth over a ranked opponent this season
- The Cavaliers are 4-2-1 against the top-25 this season
- Afonso scored his sixth goal of the season which ties Kome Ubogu for the most of any Cavalier in 2022
- Virginia improves to 6-0 when Afonso scores this season
- The Cavalier goal marks the first time Afonso and Horton have connected to score in 2022
- Phil Horton has made a goal contribution in consecutive matches after scoring on a penalty kick in Virginia’s draw with Hofstra
- Virginia becomes just the second team all season to keep a clean sheet against Wake Forest
- Virginia was outshot by a margin of 15-7
- Holden Brown made three saves in goal and kept his seventh clean sheet of the season
Virginia will hit the road for its regular-season finale as the Cavaliers travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. to take on North Carolina on Friday (Oct. 28). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Men's Soccer Highlights vs No. 25 Wake Forest 10.22.22