CHARLOTTESVILLE The Virginia men’s soccer team opens its 2008 campaign this weekend with the Virginia Soccer Classic at Klckner Stadium. The Cavaliers welcome national powerhouses No. 14/17 SMU, St. John’s and Old Dominion to Charlottesville for the round robin tournament on Friday and Sunday.
First up for UVa is an 8 p.m. Friday night match-up with St. John’s, following the SMU-ODU contest at 4 p.m. and a Virginia women’s soccer game vs. Liberty at 6 p.m., all at Klckner Stadium.
On Sunday, Virginia will square off with SMU at 8 p.m., following ODU vs. St. John’s at 2:30 p.m. and UVa women’s soccer vs. VCU at 6 p.m.
Live statistics for all the matches this weekend will be available at www.VirginiaSports.com and tickets are still available online or by calling 1-800-542-UVA1.
Virginia returns 14 letterwinners and nine players that tallied at least one point from last year’s squad that finished with a 12-8-2 overall record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Headlining the corps of returners is Ross LaBaux, who tallied seven goals and four assists last year the most of any returning player. Matt Mitchell (three goals, one assist), Neil Barlow (three goals, five assists) and Jonathan Villanueva (two goals, six assists) also return for the 2008 Cavaliers.
Head coach George Gelnovatch, now in his 13th season on the Cavalier sidelines, welcomes 12 newcomers to the squad nine freshmen and three transfers.
In preseason exhibition matches, UVa came away with two victories, topping West Virginia (Aug. 16) on the road, 2-1, and defeating ODU (Aug. 23) at home, 3-0. Freshmen Tony Tchani (one goal, two assists) and Brian Ownby (two goals, one assist) shined in the field for Virginia, while goalkeepers Michael Giallombardo and Dan Louisignau each played a complete-game.
UVa’s first opponent of the year, St. John’s, was picked to finish third in the Red Division of the BIG EAST Conference and was edged, 3-2, by Northwestern in its only preseason exhibition match. The Red Storm finished 2007 with a 9-7-5 record and returns 16 letterwinners and nine starters from that squad.
SMU, ranked No. 17 in the NSCAA preseason top 25 and No. 14 in Soccer America’s preseason poll, finished 2007 with a 14-5-2 overall record. The Mustangs advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
ODU received votes in the NSCAA preseason poll and returns 17 letterwinners and eight starters from last year’s team that advanced to the NCAA Round of 16. The Monarchs went 1-1 in preseason exhibitions, defeating American, 2-0 (Aug. 20) and falling to UVa, 3-0 (Aug. 23).
Season tickets for both the Cavalier men’s and women’s soccer teams are still available. Women’s soccer season tickets are $50 for reserved seats, $40 for adult general admission and $25 for youth/senior and faculty/staff general admission. For more information or to order tickets, click here or call the Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-542-UVA1.
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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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