Men: 1-0 win vs. Iona
The Virginia Cavaliers men’s team started their season on the right foot with a dominant performance against Iona at home in Klöckner. After an up-and-down first few minutes, Virginia controlled the play throughout, attempting 24 shots to Iona’s 4 and scoring the lone goal of the game.
Virginia’s breakthrough came after a beautiful sequence in the 70th minute, delivered by forward Daniel Mangarov off the bench. After Reese Miller’s cutback pass, the ball fell to Leo Afonso’s feet near the penalty spot, who back-heeled a nifty pass to Mangarov at the top of the box. Mangarov’s low driven shot caromed off the right post into the net, leaving Iona goalkeeper Juan Alfaro Monge no chance.
Virginia played most of the game in Iona’s half after settling in and controlling the threat throughout. With stronger finishing, the scoreline could have been more flattering to the ‘Hoos.
Mangarov was unable to convert a chance in front of an open net in the 49th minute, as the keeper was forced out of goal to stop Michael Tsicoulias’s run but Mangarov skied his finish. Leo Afonso also swung a beautiful cross to the back post in the 17th minute, a well-lofted pass which deserved an assist, but Axel Ahlander’s header deflected off the post.
While a victory against Iona was to be expected, the Cavaliers controlled the pace throughout and offered encouraging signs for how the team will adapt against higher-level competition.
Women: 0-0 draw vs. Michigan
Despite looking the better side for much of the game, Virginia’s women’s team were lucky to escape with a 0-0 draw at Klöckner Thursday night, as only Cayla White’s heroic charging save in the final minute of the game prevented a Michigan breakaway from breaking the deadlock.
Still adjusting to the departures of some of its top attacking threats, Virginia struggled to create great chances going forward against a well-organized Michigan side whose high pressing harassed the ‘Hoos throughout. The Cavaliers attempted 15 shots to Michigan’s five, but produced just two attempts on target and never truly tested the Michigan keeper, especially after Michigan began to bunker down in hopes of a draw over the final thirty minutes.
The Wolverines, by contrast, produced the best chance of the game with one of their final kicks of the ball. Forward Kali Burrell eluded her defender for a breakaway towards the UVA goal, with just White to beat. Coming off her line, White capitalized on a heavy touch by Burrell to charge and prevent the Michigan chance from resulting in a Cavalier defeat.
“I just saw her bigger touch in the box, and just had to time it coming out and be as big as possible,” White said of her game-saving play in the final seconds.
While head coach Steve Swanson wasn’t unhappy with the result, he felt it was a strong opportunity going forward to improve particularly in the attacking third.
“Our quality overall wasn’t as sharp as we needed it to be,” Swanson said.