Virginia earns 10th straight shutout, advances to play Maryland in NCAA men's soccer tournament

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 30, 2009

CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Even by soccer standards, where goals are precious and scoreless games are commonplace, Virginia's streak has reached extraordinary proportions.

With a 1-0 victory over Portland on Sunday before 3,389 at Klockner Stadium, a result that propelled them into the NCAA men's tournament quarterfinals for a third meeting with defending champion Maryland in five weeks, the Cavaliers registered their 10th consecutive shutout. They extended their shutout run to 1,017 minutes 34 seconds (the equivalent of almost 17 hours) and have gone 43 days without conceding a goal.

"I don't want it to end," said junior goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, who made two sterling saves for his program-record 14th shutout. "If we don't get scored on, we are always going to have a chance because we know the attacking is going to happen -- we're going to get goals."

One was enough against the Pilots (12-6-5). Freshman midfielder Ari Dimas's first goal of the year came on a one-timer 67 seconds into the second half for second-seeded Virginia (16-3-3), which is unbeaten in 13 straight. Since a 1-0 loss at North Carolina on Oct. 2, the Cavaliers have allowed just two goals: in a 1-1 tie with Liberty and in the 13th minute of a 3-1 victory at Virginia Tech.

Their next obstacle is Maryland, which defeated a seeded opponent on the road for the second straight week, 2-0 over No. 10 Harvard on Sunday. The Terrapins (15-5-2) and Cavaliers played to a scoreless draw in College Park on Oct. 31 before Virginia claimed a 1-0 victory in the ACC quarterfinals in Cary, N.C.

The survivor of Friday night's match will return to Cary for the College Cup semifinals Dec. 11-13.

"They have to come here," Cavaliers Coach George Gelnovatch said. "We have a lot of respect for Maryland and we're looking forward to having them at our place."

Virginia's path was difficult. The Pilots, 3-0 losers at home to Virginia the first weekend of the season, generated quality early opportunities, but Restrepo made a foot save on Ricardo Carrillo's low bid and Ryan Luke missed from 15 yards. In the 43rd minute, Restrepo made a tremendous reflex stop on Luke's eight-yarder, diving to his left to deflect the ball before watching it spin wide of the post.

While Restrepo and Virginia's defense maintained its excellence, the attack repeatedly tested Austin Guerrero from beyond the penalty area. Darting runs by Dimas, left wing Neil Barlow and right back Shawn Barry threatened to unlock Portland's defense.

Barry's cross to Barlow led to an apparent goal that was nullified by an offside call and Barlow's blast from the top of the box drew a diving save. The Cavaliers, however, struck just after the break. Tony Tchani led Barry with a long ball on the right flank. Barry crossed into the heart of the penalty area, where Dimas pushed an eight-yard shot that crossed the goal line an instant before a defender's clearance.

"I was making a run to the far post, didn't have much of an angle, so I just tried to direct it onto the frame," Dimas said. "Luckily the keeper was sliding to his right and the momentum was carrying him" away from the shot.

With Portland dictating play, Restrepo preserved the lead with a deflection of Ryan Kawulok's shot in stride in the 64th minute and a two-armed block on Collen Warner's angled rocket 10 minutes later.

"They had us twisting and turning," Gelnovatch said. "We couldn't keep the rhythm of it. We just grinded it out the last 20 minutes."

Guerrero rescued the Pilots twice in the final eight minutes before Portland's late bids were thwarted.

"They get players behind the ball quickly after they lose possession and their goalie came up with several fantastic saves," Pilots midfielder Drew Chrostek said. "There's no wonder why they've gone 10 games without being scored on."

-- MARYLAND 2, HARVARD 0: Casey Townsend scored in the 11th minute, Zac MacMath stopped Andre Akpan's penalty kick and Billy Cortes added a goal from long range with about 12 minutes left as the Terrapins surprised the Ivy League champion (14-4-1).

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