Dec. 4, 2009

Sidebar: Virginia's Restrepo Increases Record-Setting Shutout Streak

By Paul Long
Special to

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –– Senior midfielder Neil Barlow scored one goal and assisted on another, and redshirt junior goalkeeper Diego Restrepo extended his school-record shutout streak as Virginia blanked Atlantic Coast Conference rival Maryland 3-0 Friday night in an NCAA Division I men’s soccer quarterfinal.

The second-seeded Cavaliers (17-3-3) advanced to next weekend’s College Cup semifinals in Cary, N.C., where they will face the winner of Saturday’s Wake Forest-UCLA matchup. Maryland, the defending national champion, finished 15-6-2. The Terrapins, playing in the Elite Eight for the sixth time in eight years, were unseeded for the first time since 2001.

“When you get the result and it’s 3-0 in the quarterfinals against one of your ACC rivals, obviously, you’re very happy,” said Cavaliers coach George Gelnovatch. “Other than some segments in the first half after we scored, I thought we were very good. And all through the second half, right from the start, I thought we were very, very good.”

Restrepo has recorded 11 consecutive shutouts and has not allowed a goal in 1,107 minutes 34 seconds, dating back to a 3-1 victory over Virginia Tech on Oct. 17. Both streaks are Virginia school records. The Cavaliers are unbeaten in their last 14 matches.

Virginia took the lead just five minutes into the match when Barlow lofted a cross from about 20 yards out. The ball deflected off a Maryland defender and past Terrapins keeper Zac MacMath. Though it was technically an own goal, Barlow was credited with an unassisted goal.

“On the first cross,” Barlow said, “Coach was telling us before the game it was slick out --- maybe drive the ball in, take a chance from 30 yards out because the ball’s going to skip -- and I just saw the cross open. I just hit a driven ball in there. Luckily it skipped off one of the Maryland players and went in.”

Virginia received a scare in the final minute of the first half when senior midfielder Ross LaBauex appeared to hit his head and fell to the ground, remaining face down and motionless for at least three minutes. LaBauex eventually walked off the field with assistance from two teammates and returned for the start of the second half.

The Cavs made it 2-0 in the 59th minute when freshman forward Will Bates headed in a cross from Barlow.

 “I knew Bates was in there,” Barlow said. “Bates is great in the air. You put the ball near him, he’ll go up and get it and he’ll finish it.”

Restrepo’s scoreless streak was threatened in the 66th minute when Maryland junior forward Jason Herrick was dragged down in the box and awarded a penalty kick. But Restrepo lunged to make the save and keep the Terps off the board.

The Cavs netted their final goal in the 78th minute on a one-timer from Jordan Evans, who had just entered the match as a substitute for Bates. Tony Tchani was credited with the assist.

Friday’s meeting was the third of the season for the ACC rivals. The Cavs and Terps battled to a 0-0 draw Oct. 31 in College Park, Md. Eleven days later they met again in the ACC tournament quarterfinals in Cary. Virginia won 1-0 on Tchani’s goal in the 88th minute.

“I thought today was a little closer game than the score indicates,” said Terps coach Sasho Cirovski. “We, unfortunately, got the own goal in the first five minutes and got in a hole against a team that obviously hasn’t been scored on in 10 games. And it was going to be an uphill battle. We knew that for sure.

“We felt like we played quite well for about the next 20 minutes after they scored the goal, and we had some pretty good chances. ... We competed hard, and we had the penalty kick. And when you miss a penalty kick in the playoffs, usually good things don’t happen to you.”

Virginia is seeking its sixth national title and first since 1994. The Cavs are trying to reach the College Cup for the first time since 2006, when they lost 4-0 to UCLA in the semifinals.

“Obviously, as the leader of the program, it’s a pretty satisfying feeling,” said Gelnovatch. “But our seniors, a couple of these guys are going back. They were there in 2006. So they’re getting their second trip to the Final Four. When you can do that in a program, that’s fantastic, and those guys are doing that.”