Nov. 25, 2008

Courtesy Connecticut Athletics

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Senior Dori Arad (Hahotrim, Israel) scored his 11th career goal as he netted the game-winner in the 30th minute of play as the University of Connecticut men's soccer team upset the No. 10 seed University of Virginia 2-0 on Tuesday night in the second round of the NCAA Championship at Klöckner Stadium.

The Huskies improve to 11-3-6 overall on the year after picking up their second straight NCAA Tournament win of the season. Tonight was just the second time that these two teams have faced each other in program history as the series is now tied 1-1.

UConn took the lead at 29:44 as a free kick allowed the Huskies to set themselves up for the 1-0 advantage. Junior Mike Pezza (Jackson, N.J.) placed the free kick at the top of the box as senior captain Arad headed the ball into the far corner of the net for his fourth goal of the season. Pezza's assist was his team-leading eighth of the season.

Virginia took the first shot of tonight's contest as they missed high just 1:36 into play. In the sixth minute, the Cavaliers had a good look at the net as Brian Ownby went one-on-one with goalkeeper, Josh Ford (Liverpool, N.Y.). Ford came out of the box to make a diving stop, forcing the ball away from the box.

Junior captain Toni Stahl (Tuusula, Finland) found Akeem Priestley (Kingston, Jamaica) on the top of the 18-yard box as Priestley's shot missed wide left of the far post.

Virginia looked to tie the game within the 32nd minute as Hunter Jumper drilled a shot to the top corner of the net, which was saved by a leaping Ford in goal. With seven minutes remaining in the first half UVa's shot by Matt Poole ended up high of the target leaving the Huskies with the 1-0 lead at the half.

The Huskies started things off in the second half as freshman Tony Cascio (Gilbert, Ariz.) found Priestley at the top of the 18-yard box as Priestley's shot was saved by UVa goalkeeper, Michael Giallombardo.

The Cavaliers had another opportunity in the 58th minute as their free kick was blocked by the UConn wall but Jonathan Villanueva was able to keep the play alive sending the ball into the box. Ford halted any chance of a score as he came out of the box to punch the ball away from the net.

Ford made a key save in the 67th minute as Matt Mitchell broke away from the back line and into the box and sent a header towards the net and into the gloves of Ford as he was able to make his third save of the game.

UConn played aggressive throughout the game and continued to attack the UVa defense as Priestley intercepted a pass and led a two-on-four charge for the Huskies before his shot was blocked by a Cavalier defender.

Cascio scored his first career goal at 75:41 as Pezza pushed the ball up the field, finding Oscar Castillo (El Monte, Calif.) all alone on the far side of the net. Castillo one timed a pass to Cascio at the top of the 18-yard box as the freshman drilled the ball into the back of the net to put the Huskies up 2-0.

This is the 29th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the Huskies as the Cavaliers have earned a berth into the postseason playoffs 29 consecutive times.