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Men’s Soccer- ‘Hoos Take Down Devils

The Virginia men’s soccer team got off to a great start in conference play with a 1-0 home win over the Duke Blue Devils last Friday at Klöckner Stadium. The win marked their second victory of the year and also their second straight 1-0 victory over the Blue Devils.


The Cavaliers were in control for most of the game, but were unable to score until the 58th minute, when senior forward Will Bates smacked home a rebound from six feet out. Chris Somerville crossed the ball into the box, where Marcus Salandy-Defour was able to tap the ball to Bates who blasted it by the Duke keeper.


The first half was uneventful apart from a Duke player breaking his leg in the 3rd minute, stopping play for fifteen minutes while he was taken to the hospital. The goalkeepers for both teams went largely untested as neither team engineered many chances at goal in the opening half.


The offense picked up in the second half, though, with both teams getting more opportunities to score. Virginia had a few more shots on goal toward the end of the game, but Bates’s strike proved to be all the Cavaliers needed.


One could argue that the Cavaliers should have won by more, but a win is a win, and beating Duke qualifies as a big win in a powerful conference like the ACC. It opened conference play on a positive note, and it was important for the Cavaliers to take care of business against a close conference competitor.


The Cavaliers host a trio of non-conference opponents – Mount St. Mary’s, Xavier, and Drexel – in their final tune-up before ACC play gets into full swing. Unfortunately, the schedule does not get any easier from that point, as the Cavaliers’ next conference game takes place in Chapel Hill against defending ACC and NCAA champions North Carolina on September 21st. The Tar Heels ended the Cavaliers’ season last year as they topped Virginia 1-0 in overtime in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament.


The Cavaliers are off to a superb start and should benefit from the next few non-conference games. Hopefully, they will be completely focused and ready when they head to Chapel Hill next Friday.

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