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‘Hoos Can’t Overcome Two Goal Deficit, Fall to BC

Just over a week after receiving the chilling news that the second leading scorer in the ACC, Will Bates, would miss the rest of the season for No. 24 Virginia with an ACL tear, the Cavaliers were unable to overcome a two goal deficit against visiting No. 13 Boston College on a frigid Saturday night, falling by a final of 2-1. The Cavaliers mounted a furious slew of attacks late in the second half to give the Eagles a scare, but were unable to notch the equalizer after giving up a soft second goal to open the second half.

Boston College (12-4, 4-3) opened the scoring in the 27th minute when junior midfielder Kyle Bekker snuck a pretty through ball to Mejia, who lifted a shot over a charging Cavaliers freshman goalkeeper Spencer LaCivita for his first goal of the season. Mejia doubled the damage in the 48th minute as he set up freshman midfielder Diego Medina-Mendez for what proved to be the game-winning goal off of a costly turnover by junior midfielder Ari Dimas. Dimas lost the ball by the Cavaliers sideline near midfield, setting up a Boston College counter-attack. Mejia dribbled down the sideline before firing a ball towards the top of the box to Medina-Mendez, who calmly dribbled around LaCivita and buried the empty-netter to take a 2-0 lead.

“I don’t know if Spencer slipped, but it was a soft goal and it cost us the game,” head coach George Gelnovatch said. “I think we played fine. I think we played well at times. We played with a little bit more conviction in the second half, but with games like these that mean so much, you’ve got to play with conviction for 90 minutes. I’m unbelievably disappointed.”

Saddled with the deficit, the Virginia offense picked up the pace. They appeared to notch their first tally in the 57th minute when redshirt senior defender Mike Volk barreled into Eagles junior goalkeeper Justin Luthy on a cross, causing the ball to spray out of his hands and into the net. The goal was waved off for keeper interference.

In the 70th minute, the referee whistled another foul in the box. This time the call went against the Eagles, as junior defender Stefan Carter was given a yellow card for tripping Cavaliers senior forward Brian Ownby. Sophomore forward Brian Span delivered on the ensuing penalty kick, putting it just past a diving Luthy into the left corner of the net. The goal could not spark the comeback, however, as solid Eagles defense and a few timely saves by Luthy ultimately secured the victory for Boston College.

“We definitely had the fight to come back in the game,” Span said. “If we hadn’t given up that second goal, it would have been a different game—1-1, maybe overtime. We had control of the game and we had the energy, so it was just time. Just a little bit more time and we could have come back.”

With just one regular season game remaining, the Cavaliers sit in sixth place out of nine ACC teams. Yet they remain just three points out of second place, making Thursday’s season finale against N.C. State pivotal for conference positioning. A win against the Wolfpack could vault Virginia into the top half of the ACC standings and give the Cavaliers a home playoff game in the first round of the ACC tournament.

“That’s the most important game of the season right now,” Span said. “It makes such a big difference in the ACC standings and who knows what could happen if we win that game. There’s other teams that play so things could shake up and we could still get a top spot, so we just got to get that last win.”

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