CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 11 Virginia men’s soccer team (10-4-4, 5-1-2 ACC) competed in a thrilling ACC Semifinal as captains Andreas Ueland and Leo Afonso each tallied goals, but it wasn’t enough advance past No. 3 Syracuse (13-2-4, 5-1-2 ACC) as the teams battled to a 2-2 draw with the Orange advancing on penalties Wednesday night (Nov. 9) at SU Soccer Stadium.
28 – Syracuse: Jeorgio Kocevski (Penalty)
38’ – Virginia: Andreas Ueland (Axel Ahlander)
66’ – Virginia: Leo Afonso
84’ – Syracuse: Lorenzo Boselli
*Syracuse advances 5-3 on penalties*
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Virginia began the game on the front foot as Leo Afonso and Phil Horton put early pressure on the Syracuse back line. Virginia thought it had opened the scoring less than 10 minutes into the game when Paul Wiese sent a cross into the penalty area that was headed into the top corner of goal by Phil Horton. However, the striker looked to his left to see the flag raised by the assistant referee to disallow the goal.
As Syracuse began to grow into the game, it was the Orange that put themselves on top after earning a penalty kick. Though Holden Brown guessed the correct side, Jeorgio Kocevski’s shot slid past his outstretched hand and into the goal.
Just 10 minutes later, the Cavaliers put themselves back on level terms. From the left wing, Paul Wiese arched a ball high into the penalty area that was flicked on by Axel Ahlander. The clever header was met by fellow Norwegian teammate Andreas Ueland whose glancing header found its way into the back of the net for 1-1.
It looked as though Syracuse was about to take the lead once more just before halftime as Camden Holbrook found himself in on goal, but reigning national player of the week, Holden Brown smothered the chance with a diving effort to keep things square at the break.
Syracuse opened the second half with intensity as the Orange pinned UVA deep in its own end for the first 20 minutes of play. However, it was Virginia that put itself ahead this time as Phil Horton blasted a low shot at the Syracuse goalkeeper to force a diving stop, but Leo Afonso was there to smash the rebound home and put the Cavaliers in front.
As time winded to a close Syracuse found a late equalizer. Lorenzo Boselli received a ball at the top of the box. Carrying to his right, he fired a shot across his body and into the low corner to force extra time.
After two scoreless overtime periods, the game went to penalty kicks to decide which team would advance to the ACC Championship. An impressive effort from the Syracuse goalkeeper to stop an attempt from Andreas Ueland proved to be the difference in the shootout and send the Orange through.
FROM HEAD COACH GEORGE GELNOVATCH
“This game feels like a loss, but in the end, it’s a draw and a result like this is ultimately only going to help us. I think we came out and played a really even game in the first half, but Syracuse really picked up in the second. Our last two games have been College Cup caliber matches. That’s what the ACC Tournament can feel like. We have another week or so to prepare and get ready to move on to the NCAA tournament.”
- Leo Afonso scored his seventh goal of the season to lead the team in both goals and points
- Virginia failed to win a game in which Afonso has scored for the first time this season
- Afonso has scored against Syracuse in each of his last three matches against the Orange
- Andreas Ueland scored his second goal of the season and eighth of his career
- Both of Ueland’s goals in 2022 have equalized for Virginia
- Ueland and Afonso have scored a combined five goals against the Orange in their careers
- With the draw, Virginia remains unbeaten in its last seven matches
- Axel Ahlander recorded his second assist of the season
- Virginia is 5-2-2 against the top-25 this season and unbeaten against the top-3 with a record of 1-0-2
- George Gelnovatch is 32-29-9 when coaching against the top-5
- Holden Brown made eight saves, two shy of a career-high
- Virginia turns its attention to the NCAA Tournament, with the bracket scheduled to be revealed on Monday (Nov. 14). The top-16 teams in the field of 48 will receive a first-round bye.