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Virginia men’s soccer team opens spring with 3-0 win over George Mason

Virginia men’s soccer team opens spring with 3-0 win over George Mason

UVa soccer

Virginia’s Leo Afonso dribbles the ball against George Mason on Tuesday at Klöckner Stadium.

The Virginia men’s soccer team opened its spring season in style Tuesday at Klöckner Stadium.

The Cavaliers, who went 3-4-1 in the fall, faced an overmatched George Mason team and quickly imposed their will on the visitors. They attacked the Patriots, generating scoring chances and executing soundly on finishing opportunities.

As a result, Virginia dominated in a 3-0 win over George Mason. The game represented UVa’s first game against a non-ACC foe since the 2019 national title match against Georgetown.

“Great win,” Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. “It’s always good to score three goals and to have a clean sheet.”

After a fall against only ACC teams, the Cavaliers took advantage of a match against less-talented opposition. UVa scored twice in the first 11 minutes to effectively put the game out of reach shortly after its start.

The first goal game in the eighth minute from sophomore forward Alex Gunnarsson, who received a beautiful cross from fellow sophomore forward Kevin Ogudugu. Gunnarsson received the pass near the left side of the net and finished on an empty net as Ogudugu’s pass moved the defense out of position.

Ogudugu added UVa’s second goal in the 11th minute when he beat George Mason freshman goalkeeper Jackson Lee. Ogudugu ripped a low ball to the left corner of the goal, and Lee’s sprawling effort couldn’t stop the shot.

Redshirt freshman midfielder Nick Berghold joined the fun in the 34th minute, heading the ball into the back of the net off a corner kick from sophomore midfielder Jeremy Verley. UVa took a 3-0 lead into halftime.

“The big takeaway for this game is the way we started the game and in particular the half, great energy, three goals,” Gelnovatch said.

The Cavaliers dropped back and played less aggressively in the second half. They defended for much of the half, but the Patriots failed to consistently put shots on goal. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Alex Rando was rarely tested, although he did record three saves.

Virginia controlled possession for much of the game, using energy and speed to overwhelm George Mason. On paper, the Cavaliers are the better team. Even with a talent advantage, UVa showed up focused, played hard and looked the part of a solid ACC team.

“Great starting point to open up the spring,” Gelnovatch said.

The Cavaliers open ACC play Sunday when they host Notre Dame.

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