James Madison has been a difficult team to read this season. The 2018 NCAA tournament quarterfinalist started the new year 0-2 before rattling off eight consecutive wins. Following a tie, loss and win in its previous three matches, JMU sits at No. 18 after the latest United Soccer Coaches poll.
On the other hand, Virginia has remained steady atop the rankings for three weeks after opening the season on a 10-game winning streak. The Cavaliers remain unbeaten, although they settled for a draw at Boston College on Oct. 11.
Virginia is without a loss while the Dukes have already beaten a No. 1 team earlier this year in Wake Forest, adding a heightened interest to an in-state showdown.
Here’s everything you need to know before Tuesday’s match.
Virginia vs. James Madison: Preview, how to watch
Virginia and James Madison will kick off from Klöckner Stadium at 7 p.m. ET. Here’s how to follow the match.
When: 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 15
Where: Klöckner Stadium | Charlottesville, Virginia
How to watch: ACC Network
While James Madison looks to beat a No. 1 team for the second time in 2019, the Dukes will also go for their first win over Virginia since 1991. The teams haven’t met since 2016 — a 3-1 Virginia win that improved UVA to 19-5-2 all-time against JMU.
The Cavaliers have won eight of their past nine over the Dukes and bring a three-game winning streak in the series into Tuesday’s match. UVA coach George Gelnovatch is 5-0-1 against JMU in his career.
||TALE OF THE TAPE||
|No. 1||Ranking||No. 18|
24th season at Virginia
2nd season at James Madison
|40||NCAA tournament appearances||13|
Daryl Dike, 12 (3 goals, 6 assists)
Manuel Ferriol, 27 (12 goals, 3 assists)
Considering both teams have yet to lose in the state of Virginia this year, something will have to give on Tuesday night.
The X-factor in this top-25 matchup is the offense of James Madison against Virginia’s defense. Through 13 games, JMU has scored at least two goals seven times. By comparison, the Cavaliers have been scored on twice in 2019.
The reason behind this defensive success is the capability to balance physicality with a tactical style. UVA is aggressive in all phases of the pitch, not just its final third. But around the box, Gelnovatch’s team has been tough to crack, allowing fewer than three shots on target per game.
Virginia compiled a shutout streak of 689 minutes before conceding in their 1-1 draw against Boston College on Oct. 11. That tally was an own goal, making Duke’s Kristófer Garðarsson the only Division I player to score on the Hoos this season.
To knock off the Cavaliers, James Madison will likely need to be defense-oriented and wait for opportunities to counter. That’s easier said than done, but the Dukes’ two marquee wins — Wake Forest and Cal State Fullerton — both ended 1-0.
An offensive breakthrough by JMU likely begins or ends with Manuel Ferriol. The senior midfielder is among the top scorers in Division I with 12 goals and is the Dukes’ catalyst when it comes to dictating tempo and chance creation.