Cavalier Men Win National Championship

December 13, 2009

The Cavalier men's soccer team won its sixth national championship in program history on Sunday. Virginia battled Akron to a scoreless tie and topped the Zips in penalty kicks, 3-2. It was the first loss for Akron this season.

Both teams had their fair share of chances in regulation. Will Bates header from close range hit the post in the fifth minute and Tony Tchani's attempt in the 27th minute went high over the cross bar. Akron got its chances as well but was unable to convert. The two teams battled through two overtime periods with no scoring, setting up a fitting shootout to decide the national championship.

With Virginia up 1-0 in penalty kicks, Diego Restrepo made the save on Zarek Valentin's shot to put Virginia in the driver's seat. With the Cavs leading 3-1, Kofi Sarkodie's shot went off the post. Jonathan Villanueva stepped up with the chance to clinch the championship for Virginia, but Akron goalkeeper David Meves came up with the save to keep the Zips alive. Virginia would lead 3-2 when Greg Monaco's attempt to seal the win was saved as well by Meves.

Virginia led 3-2 with one Akron attempt remaining. Blair Gavin stepped into the box to try to extend the match. Restrepo guessed wrong and went the wrong way on the save attempt, but Gavin's shot sailed high and over the cross bar, giving the Cavaliers their first NCAA Championship since 1994.

Restrepo recorded his 16th shutout of the season, extending his school record. He was named the College Cup Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Villanueva took home the honor on the offensive side of the ball.

Virginia finishes with a record of 19-3-3. The Cavaliers captured an ACC and NCAA Championship in 2009 and ended the season on a 16 game unbeaten streak. George Gelnovatch's club averaged 1.44 goals per game, but only gave up 0.28 per game to opponents.

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