The rain and wind seemed hardly a factor for the sixth-ranked an fifth-seeded Virginia men's soccer team, as the Cavaliers defeated their fifth top-20 opponent in just six contests last friday capture the ACC Championship for the first time since 2004. This marks the fourth ACC title under head coach and former UVA player George Gelnovatch, and the tenth overall for the program.
It was a tag team effort on the part of the Hoos. Will Bates, one of four Virginia players named to the 2009 ACC All-Tournament Team, scored the game-winning goal in just the 16th minute, while goalkeeper and ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player Diego Restrepo kept the twentieth-ranked and seventh-seeded Wolfpack at bay, as posted his eighth-consecutive shutout. Virginia has now played 837 straight minutes without allowing a goal.
The Cavaliers shut out their eighth-straight opponent and 13th overall in 2009.
Restrepo finished with two saves and was named MVP after not allowing a goal in the tournament.
"Everybody just worked hard every day," Restrepo said. "It’s a great group of people that work hard, and stay focused."
Bates' game-winning goal was his team-high eighth of the season. Hunter Jumper started the play with a cross across the penalty area from the left side of the field. Midfielder Jordan Evans flicked the cross on with his head, and Bates settled the ball and fired a shot into the back of the net from six yards out.
Jumper, also named to the all-tournament team, was credited with one assist (his third of the year), while Evans also earned an assist.
Bates has scored four game-winning goals in his first season as a Cavalier, and was named to the all-tournament team as well. He adds the accolade to a list that already includes All-ACC second team and ACC All-Freshmen honors.
Tony Tchani was also named to the all-tournament team for Virginia. The sophomore had the Cavaliers' game-winning goal in the quarterfinals to lift UVa to a 1-0 victory over fifth-ranked Maryland. Virginia followed up that performance with a 0-0 tie against Wake Forest and advanced 5-4 on penalty kicks in the semifinals.
In their last 11 games, the Cavaliers are unbeaten with an 8-0-3 record.
NC State goalkeeper Christopher Widman finished with four saves. The Cavaliers out-shot the Wolfpack, 15-8, and held a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Virginia was rewarded with a No. 2 seed into the NCAA Tournament. This is the 29th straight appearance for the Hoos, the longest active streak in the nation. Akron, at 20-0-0 received the No. 1 seed, while six other ACC teams (No. 3 Wake Forest, No. 5 North Carolina, NC State, Boston College, Duke and Maryland) also made the tournament.
"One of our goals for this season was to win the ACC Championship and by doing so we were rewarded with a top four seed," Gelnovatch said. "We love playing at home, and we have a lot of things heading in the right direction with this team. We are playing well and we are relatively healthy, we just need to stay focused."
Virginia will play the winner of the first-round match-up between Princeton (9-5-3) and Bucknell (16-5-0), being played Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. As a top-16 seed, Virginia received a first-round bye. The matchup vs. Princeton or Bucknell will be on November 22 right here at Klöckner Stadium.
Virginia has won five NCAA Championships (1989, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994). The Cavaliers hold an overall 47-25-4 record in NCAA Tournament play.