UVA Men's Soccer Plays Waiting Game for ACC Seeding

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.-- No. 13 Virginia men's soccer is not at a holding pattern after failing to secure the win over top ranked North Carolina on Friday night.

The 13th ranked Virginia men's soccer will now have to play the waiting game. The Cavs clinched a first-round bye in the ACC Tournament, but because they could not record a win against North Carolina on Friday night, the 'Hoos will now have to wait for the result of the Notre Dame match on Saturday. If the Fighting Irish win, the Cavaliers will hit the road next weekend to face the Irish in the ACC quarterfinal. 

The 'Hoos could not take advantage of going a man up in overtime. North Carolina striker Alan Winn was sent off after appearing to kick Virginia keeper Jeff Caldwell with three minutes left in the first half of overtime, but the Heels kept their composure. J. Christophe Koffi's shot was the closest the 'Hoos came to recording a golden goal, after his powerful strike was deflected just wide left with seconds left in the first overtime. 

“The timing of this game is very good for us,” Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch told reporters. “North Carolina is a very, very good team. I think they are a College Cup-caliber team, and for us to play this game this late in the season rather than earlier on in the ACC, it gets us ready for teams we are going to have to deal with to win championships. 
“So we can check off boxes for what we need to do right in the postseason. The first thing we have to do is not get scored on. Playing a team that scores a ton of goals, we did great. They didn’t get one good chance. We checked that one off, going into the postseason like we did going into last postseason. We will get better coming out of our half, and we will get some more chances.”

UVA played remarkable team defense in the 0-0 draw against the Tar Heels. North Carolina clinched the ACC Coastal Division Championship on Tuesday by boasting one of the nation's best strike force, however against Virginia, the Heels could not find the back of the net-even when the Cavs' best central defender, Sheldon Sullivan, went down.

The Tar Heels dominated possession but that did not translate into goals-the Heels only forced Jeff Caldwell into two saves in the first half. The Cavs, however, did not fair much better. With 11 minutes played Edward Opoku had the 'Hoos best chance of the half after he cut inside to get a one-on-one opportunity against James Pyle. But Pyle made himself big and picked up the save against Opoku. Todd Wharton would have another shot on target saved 20 minutes later. 

North Carolina continued to bring the pressure in the second half, with Caldwell springing into action with an additional two saves. The Cavs brought the heat with 10 minutes left, however. In that time span,  the Cavaliers had some of the best pressure of the match. Marcus Salandy-Defour pulled back the ball to inside the area causing a scramble inside the box. The ball eventually found Sam Hayward, but Hayward's shot went directly to the UNC keeper. 

The Heels had one more shot to sneak the away win in regulation when with less than five minutes to go, UNC's free kick was blocked, handing the Heels a corner. But once again, the 'Hoos packed the area, and UNC could not create a shot on goal. 

Moving forward, the injury to Sullivan could be a huge loss for Virginia. After being one of four Cavs to start every game this year, and the only one to play 1,300 minutes prior to the match against UNC, Sullivan was subbed out after 20 minutes after he fell awkwardly on the ground. Sullivan never returned. There is still no word on whether or not the defender will be fit enough to play next weekend.

The Cavaliers' ACC tournament fate rests on Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish and the Panthers square off at 2 PM on Saturday. The Cas will hope for a Irish draw or loss over the weekend. 

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