Oct. 18, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The No. 19 Virginia men's soccer team thoroughly dominated Virginia Tech before settling for a 1-1 draw Friday evening in a bizarre contest at Thompson Field in Blacksburg. Virginia (6-3-4, 2-2-4 ACC) extended its unbeaten streak to nine contests - its longest since ending the 2009 season with a 16-game unbeaten string.
"We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game," Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. "It wasn't anything different than what we expected. We put ourselves in a difficult position by giving up the own goal, but I'm happy with the effort throughout the game right down to the equalizer in the last 30 seconds of the game. We deserved to win in overtime, but it just wasn't meant to be today. We picked up a point on the road and now we'll get ready for Notre Dame."
After surrendering a fourth-minute own goal, Virginia picked up the equalizer with 34 seconds remaining in the second half on an Eric Bird (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) goal. The Cavaliers had multiple chances in the overtime periods, including a penalty kick, but could not net the golden goal.
Virginia Tech (3-4-5, 1-2-5) played a man down for the final 90 minutes after earning a red card in the 20th minute, but was able to withstand the Cavaliers' relentless pressure while only giving up one goal. UVa out-shot the Hokies, 37-2, including 11-0 in the overtime sessions. The Cavaliers' shot total is the most in a game by an ACC team this season. UVa also took 13 corner kicks to none for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech goalkeeper Kyle Renfro made 10 saves to keep the Hokies in the game. UVa goalkeeper Jeff Gal (R-So., Bartlett, Ill.) was rarely tested but made one key second-half save on a Virginia Tech counter.
The Hokies were carded four times and called for 17 fouls in a physical first half. There were 37 fouls called in the contest - 25 for Virginia Tech and 12 for UVa.
Virginia Tech picked up the game's first goal in the fourth minute. After a long Hokie cross into the box from the right flank, Kyler Sullivan's header went awry and found the corner of the net.
While UVa controlled the run of play for much of the early portion of the game, the tone of the contest shifted dramatically in the 20th minute when Alessandro Mion slid in hard from behind on Eric Bird (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) and was sent off with a straight red card.
Virginia Tech did not take its first shot until the 50th minute and put its first shot on goal in the 61st minute on a counter, with Gal stopping the short shot from Niels Kirch.
The Cavaliers took 21 shots in the second half, but No. 21 finally was the equalizer. After a UVa throw-in, the ball was sent into the box, where it deflected off a Hokie defender to Bird, who roofed a shot from 10 yards with just 34 seconds remaining for the tying goal. It marked Bird's team-leading sixth score of the year.
The Cavaliers' pressure continued in the overtime periods. UVa's best chance came in the 95th minute when Ryan Zinkhan (Jr., Fredericksburg, Va.) was taken down on his run into the box, and the Cavaliers were awarded a penalty kick. Renfro again came up big as he denied Bird on a sprawling save. UVa also hit the crossbar on a deflected Scott Thomsen (So., Brick, N.J.) shot just two minutes later.
Virginia took seven shots in the second overtime, with Renfro making a pair of great saves to stop the Cavaliers, including a kick save on a Bryan Lima (R-Jr., Boca Raton, Fla.) shot from eight yards with just over two minutes remaining.
UVa travels to No. 2 Notre Dame for its final regular-season road match on Oct. 26 before returning home Oct. 29 to take on UNC Greensboro. The Cavaliers wrap up the regular season with home contests against No. 21 North Carolina (Nov. 1) and Boston College (Nov. 8).
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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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