Virginia Men's Soccer Tops Wake Forest in PKs, Advances to ACC Semifinals

After playing third-seeded Wake Forest to a 2-2 draw Tuesday night in a quarterfinal match of the ACC Soccer Championship, the sixth-seeded Virginia men’s soccer team advanced to the ACC semifinals after outlasting the Demon Deacons 5-3 in penalty kicks at Spry Stadium. The Cavaliers eliminated Wake Forest from the tournament for the fifth straight season.

“It was two good teams playing some good soccer,” Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of fouling or stupid stuff. We’ve seen each other before and we knew we had to do a little bit better with how well they move the ball, and I thought we did that, in particular after halftime when we made some adjustments. I thought our second half was better than our first.”

The match went down in the books as a draw, but a penalty-kick shootout was used to determine the team which advanced to the semifinals. Both teams connected on their first three shots – UVa’s Will Bates, Grant Silvester and Todd Wharton and Wake Forest’s Danny Wenzel, Michael Gamble and Luca Gimenez. The Cavaliers’ Zach Carroll buried his attempt, but Wake’s Teddy Mullin stuttered before his try and his kick sailed just outside the left post. UVa’s Shane Cooke then fired his shot to the back of the net, clinching the PK win.

“Those were nine high-level PKs; (Mullin) just missed his, and that happens,” Gelnovatch said. “The four that Wake hit were very good and the five that we hit were good ones as well.”

While Virginia controlled the run of play for the majority of the initial 20 minutes of the match, Wake Forest drew first blood with a goal in the 21st minute as Gamble made a long run down the right flank into the box, took a great cross from Sean Okoli and tapped it to the far corner of the net for the goal.

UVa knotted the score in the 32nd minute. Scott Thomsen lofted a long free kick from near midfield, and after the ball caromed around in traffic inside the box, Carroll corralled it and banged the shot home to the far corner for his fourth goal.

Wake took the early lead in the second half when Chris Duvall sent a cross from just outside the box to the far post, where Okoli headed it in for his 11th score of the year. The goal came just over five minutes into the half.

The Cavaliers again tied the score in the 55th minute when Marcus Salandy-Defour took a pass just outside the box and delivered it to Eric Bird, who one-timed it just inside the right post. The goal was Bird’s second of the season.

After a corner kick and scrum in the box in the 83rd, Wake clanged a shot off the post. The Cavaliers had a flurry with just under 70 seconds remaining in regulation, as Bird’s shot in traffic from 12 yards was deflected by Wake keeper Andrew Harris, and Carroll’s rebound shot in the box was deflected away by the Wake Forest defense. UVa out-shot Wake, 15-9, in the second half.

Wake Forest took the only two shots of the first overtime period as well as the only two of the second overtime.

UVa goalkeeper Spencer LaCivita made three saves, while Harris was credited with five saves for the Demon Deacons.

Virginia advances to play second-seeded North Carolina at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md.

UVa dropped a 1-0 decision to North Carolina on Sept. 21 in Chapel Hill.

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