Oct. 4, 2013
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia men's soccer team extended its unbeaten streak to six straight matches with a 5-0 defeat of Pittsburgh Friday evening at Klöckner Stadium in the programs' first matchup as ACC opponents. Freshman Riggs Lennon (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) scored a pair of goals as the Cavaliers (6-3-1, 2-2-1 ACC) recorded their most goals in an ACC contest since tallying five against NC State on Sept. 19, 2008.
"We got off to a good start and that is just because of the schedule we have played," Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. "We are programmed to play hard and fast. That is what we are used to and we started that way. We rewarded ourselves with a couple of early goals and were able to manage the game with some other players in preparation for Tuesday and Friday's ACC matches next week."
The Cavaliers used a season-high 22 players, while none of the starters played the full 90 minutes. Virginia out-shot Pitt, 17-2, and did not surrender a shot on goal as Jeff Gal (R-So., Bartlett, Ill.) and Calle Brown (R-Jr., Leesburg, Va.) were rarely tested in recording UVa's fifth clean sheet of the season. Pitt starting goalkeeper Dan Lynd made two saves while giving up four goals before Braden Horton came on to play the final 41 minutes. The Panthers (0-6-2, 0-5-0) previously had not allowed more than two goals in any match this season.
Eric Bird (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.), Todd Wharton (So., Glen Allen, Va.) and Ryan Zinkhan (Jr., Fredericksburg, Va.) also scored for the Cavaliers. Bird capped off a big week as he also scored the game-winning goal and notched an assist in UVa's Tuesday win over VCU.
Lennon scored the first of his two goals in the 10th minute to give the Cavaliers an early lead. After Marcus Salandy-Defour (So., Kensington, Md.) launched a long cross down field, Lennon corralled the ball and ripped a shot from 15 yards. The ball ricocheted off a defender before sailing in for the goal.
In the 20th minute, after Pitt (0-6-2, 0-5-0) failed to clear a ball out of its box following a UVa cross, Bird launched a shot from the top of the box for his team-leading fifth goal of the year. Just over a minute later, the Panthers turned the ball over in the box, giving Lennon a one-on-one with Lynd, but the shot hit the post.
The Cavaliers poured it on in the 41st minute with some heady play, leading to their third goal. After a foul was called on Pitt about five yards outside the top of the box, Wharton caught Pitt off guard by quickly taking the free kick, easily clearing the wall and putting the ball inside the far upper 90. It was his first goal of the year as he became the 12th Cavalier to score this season.
UVa quickly took a 4-0 lead in the second half, scoring just over two minutes following intermission. After Darius Madison (So., Philadelphia, Pa.) took the ball inside the box down to the goal line, he deftly flipped it across to the far post to Lennon, who easily headed it home for his fourth goal of the year.
The Cavaliers added a final score in the 78th minute. After a UVa throw-in, Zinkhan weaved his way across the field and through traffic before cranking a rocket from 20 yards out which sailed just under the crossbar for his second goal of the season.
Virginia plays a pair of ACC matches next week, traveling to Duke Tuesday (Oct. 8) before returning home to play No. 7 Maryland Friday (Oct. 11) in the programs' final regular-season match as ACC foes.