Virginia and Maryland had gone for well over 250 minutes, dating back to the third minute of the 2008 ACC Championship, without either team scoring a goal. It was Virginia, however, who broke the stalemate in the final minutes of today's quarterfinal match of the ACC Men's Soccer tournament. Read the ACC press release after the jump.
CARY, N.C. – Goals were hard to come by as the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Soccer Championship got under way amidst heavy rains and high winds on Wednesday afternoon. For Virginia, one goal proved to be enough.
Sophomore Tony Tchani’s goal with three minutes left lifted fifth-seeded Virgina to a 1-0 win over fourth-seeded Maryland. Virginia (13-3-2) moved on to Friday’s 5:30 p.m. semifinal game to face top-seeded Wake Forest.
The teams appeared headed for overtime until the closing minutes, when Tchiani burst into the open field, controlled possession and lined a shot past Maryland goalkeeper Zac MacMath for the lone score of the match.
Virginia coach George Gelnovatch felt it was a case of two evenly-matched and rugged defensive teams – and not the adverse weather conditions – that made for the low-scoring, competitive match.
"The last time we played Maryland, it was a 0-0 tie," Gelvontatch noted. "I think we had two teams competing and doing a good job of defending. So, whether it was a beautiful day or not, I don’t think it would have made a difference.
"I thought, after all things considered, the ball actually moved on the ground ok. The wind was a little bit of a factor. We all would have liked to play in better conditions, but these were certainly allowable conditions."
The rematch between the 2008 Championship finalists stood scoreless at the half, despite the Cavaliers’ 7-1 edge in shots. MacMath recorded two saves, and Virginia’s other shot on goal missed its mark. Virginia wound up with a 12-6 advantage in shots, which looked as if it could be a meaningless stat until Tchani broke through.
"We had talked about keeping the ball on the ground and the fact that the standing water issue wasn’t a problem really helped us," Gelvonatch said. "We stayed the course and kept plugging away and Tony Tchani did great with his goal."
While Virginia moved on the semifinal round, Maryland (12-5-2 with an RPI of 16) should remain solid position for an NCAA berth when the selection committee makes its announcement on Monday.