Joe Sofia scored the match’s lone goal with 28 seconds remaining in overtime to lift No. 11 UCLA to a 1-0 victory over the Virginia men’s soccer team on Sunday evening at Klöckner Stadium.
“We’re a talented group, but we still need some seasoning,” UVa head coach George Gelnovatch said. “They are marinating right now as they get a little bit more mature, but the talent is there. To their defense, the schedule I put together for them has been really tough, but my hope is it will be a good segue into the ACC season, which starts next week.”
Virginia’s starting lineup featured five freshmen and five sophomores, as well as redshirt junior Sean Murnane. Both of the Cavaliers' losses this year have come in overtime.
While both teams had plenty of scoring opportunities throughout the match, the only tally came in the final minute of the first overtime period. Following a long throw in, the ball pinballed around the box as both teams failed to fully control it. The ball caromed out to Sofia, who cranked a shot from about 15 yards out which found the right side of the net for the goal.
UCLA (1-1-1) held the possession advantage for the early portion of the first half and put two shots on goal, both of which were saved by outstretched UVa goalkeeper Spencer LaCivita.
After struggling to get anything going on the offensive end in the first 30 minutes, Virginia (1-2-0) started rolling during the final 15 minutes of the first half. UVa took five shots in that span, while UCLA goalkeeper Juan Cervantes made a pair of saves to keep the game scoreless. UVa’s Will Bates also hit the crossbar in the 38th minute with his shot from a tough angle in the right side of the box.
Virginia’ first-half momentum did not carry into the second half, as the Bruins came out and put two shots on goal in the first four minutes, both of which LaCivita corralled. Darius Madison came right back in the 50th minute for UVa and made a strong run toward a ball deep in the UCLA end, but Cervantes was able to dive and deflect the ball just as Madison put a foot on it near the top corner of the box.
“We tried to pick up where we left off in the first half,” Gelnovatch said. “We had some chances at the end of the first half, but UCLA is a good team and it was tough to take the ball from them. They were strong and skillful. I thought we were very organized and defended very well in the last third of the field. “
LaCivita finished with five saves, while Cervantes made three saves. Madison took a team-high four shots for the Cavaliers, while Ryan Hollingshead racked up seven shots for UCLA.
UCLA finished with a 14-8 advantage in shots. UVa out-shot the Bruins 5-3 in the first half, but UCLA piled up an 11-3 margin after halftime. The Bruins took eight corner kicks, compared to two for UVa. The Cavaliers committed 18 fouls, while UCLA was credited with a dozen.
Virginia opens ACC play at 7:30 p.m. Friday when it entertains Duke at Klöckner Stadium.
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