Sunday night, a hellacious severe thunderstorm battered Charlottesville; trees were down, power knocked out, and roads flooded. However, one positive emerged; the men's exhibition match at Klocker, where UVA trailed ETSU 2-1 in the 38th minute, was halted and eventually delayed to yesterday. (Yes, I realize the score of exhibitions does not matter. No, I do not want to look at a potential loss to ETSU on the UVA schedule page). @UVAMenSoccer tweeted a picture of the hail-covered field...not ideal preseason weather.
The score was expunged, and the teams played a new match with a 30 minute first half and a 45 minute second half. Given a second chance, the Wahoo defense allowed opportunities, but no goals. An Ari Dimas goal in the 10th minute off a chip from Chris Somerville was enough to give the team a 1-0 win to start the exhibition part of the schedule. ETSU had multiple chances to equalize in the second half, but Virginia ultimately took control, firing off the last 5 shots of the match.
The NCAA Preseason Coaches Poll pegs Virginia as the 22nd-ranked team in the nation. After an up-and-down 2010 season, these early season tune ups will be a good test of the strides the team has made after a hardworking offseason. The conference slate is an unforgiving one; five ACC schools round out the top 25, with more likely to sneak in once the season is underway. The Hoos dropped a few nailbiters against quality competition last year. With developed senior leadership, expect more ACC midseason thrillers this year with different results.
Not pumped for the season yet? That'll change after you take a look back at UVA's National Championship win on penalties just 2 years ago. Excited to see what this bunch is capable of doing.