Oct. 1, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Eric Bird (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) scored the golden goal with 3:20 left in double overtime to propel the Virginia men's soccer team to a 2-1 triumph over No. 23 VCU Tuesday evening at Klöckner Stadium. The Cavaliers (5-3-1) ran their unbeaten streak to five matches, including three consecutive wins.
"I'm so proud," Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. "For me, the win was the cherry on top. But psychologically, getting through the fatigue and coming up with a win against a very good VCU team, I'm so proud."
Bird also had an assist on Virginia's first goal. Darius Madison (So., Philadelphia, Pa.) also scored the initial goal for the Cavaliers, who have recorded two or more goals in each of the last six matches. During the five-match unbeaten streak, UVa has outscored its foes 14-4 and out-shot them 84-31.
Bird scored his team-best fourth goal of the season in the 107th minute. After a Riggs Lennon (Fr., Paradise Valley, Ariz.) shot was deflected, Matt Brown (Jr., Charlotte, N.C.) put a foot on the ball and redirected it. Bird gathered the loose ball in the box, turned and scored inside the far post from 12 yards out to give the Cavaliers their first overtime win in 2013.
Playing its sixth match in 19 days, Virginia subbed liberally throughout the evening in an effort to stay fresh against a VCU side which had not played in a week. The Cavaliers used six players off the bench as each of UVa's forwards and midfielders got at least one breather during the game.
Virginia scored in the 20th minute to take the early lead. Bird lofted a pass down the right flank to Madison, who took the ball just inside midfield, dribbled toward the top of the box and then fired a low shot from the top of the box which found the net, just inside the far post. The goal was Madison's third of the season, while Bird notched his third assist.
While UVa maintained a large edge in possession in the first half, VCU (3-4-1) turned the tables and controlled the run of play for the early portion of the second half. The Rams broke through in the 65th minute when Kharlton Belmar took a pass from Isaac Owusu to the middle of the box and cranked a blast just under the crossbar from 10 yards out.
The Cavaliers out-shot VCU 18-7 and put seven shots on goal, while the Rams recorded five shots on goal. UVa took all four of the shots in the overtime periods.
UVa goalkeeper Jeff Gal (R-So., Bartlett, Ill.) made four saves, while VCU keeper Andrew Wells stopped five shots. The Cavaliers took 11 corner kicks to five for VCU. UVa committed 17 fouls, while VCU was called for 13.
Virginia remains home Friday against new conference rival Pittsburgh. The sides will play at 7 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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