By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 12, 2006
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Oct. 11 -- On its way to the No. 6 national ranking and a seamless home record, the Virginia men's soccer team has taken a perilous route with four victories in sudden-death overtime and a collection of other stressful results.
On Wednesday night, there was no such suspense.
Jonathan Villanueva and Yannick Reyering scored in a 3-minute 14-second span of the first half as the Cavaliers roared to a 3-0 victory over defending NCAA champion Maryland before 3,618 at Klockner Stadium, vaulting into first place in the ACC and halting the second-ranked Terrapins' unbeaten streak at seven.
It was the first time Maryland (10-2-1, 3-2-1) had been shut out in 30 games and marked the Terps' worst loss since a 4-0 defeat to UCLA in the second game of the 2005 season.
"That was a point of emphasis, to get on the board first tonight," said Cavaliers Coach George Gelnovatch, whose team had lost its three previous meetings with Maryland. "I'm glad we did it, and we did it twice."
Virginia (12-2, 4-2) moved ahead of Maryland and Duke in the ACC with two weeks left in the regular season, but just as important, the decisive victory showed the Cavaliers' enormous potential as they attempt to end a 12-year drought without a national title.
"It started with our attitude and approach to the game, and just really going after them," said senior forward Adam Cristman, who added the final goal in the 79th minute to help Virginia equal its highest-scoring game of the season.
The Terrapins were probably playing their final road game until the final four, if they make it that far. They'll play their last five regular season matches at home, compete in the ACC tournament at Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, then likely earn home bids for several rounds of the NCAA tournament.
Coach Sasho Cirovski believes his team will learn from the loss, saying: "This one is going to hurt, but I think that hurt is going to translate into some very valuable lessons. It just wasn't our night."
The Terrapins were at a disadvantage without center back A.J. Delagarza, who was serving a red card suspension. Cirovski dropped back creative midfielder Maurice Edu to join freshman Omar Gonzalez, but Virginia took advantage of the makeshift arrangement by utilizing the experience of Reyering and Cristman.
The first half was progressing at a calculated pace with barely a threat at either end, when Virginia struck in rapid succession.
In the 29th minute, Reyering headed Nico Colaluca's corner kick down to Villanueva just inside the six-yard box for a cracking volley past goalkeeper Chris Seitz.
The Cavaliers struck again, thanks to Reyering's resolve. At the top of the box, Reyering shook off two challenges, maintained possession and then lashed a 16-yard shot for his team-best eighth goal. Cristman finished it by collecting Colaluca's cross in stride and calmly beating Seitz.
Said Gelnovatch, "It's a good time of the year to be scoring goals and winning games."
Note: Besides Delagarza, the Terrapins were without freshman forward Jason Herrick (five goals), who suffered a head injury last week.