#13 Virginia Men's Soccer 2012 Preview

Virginia Cavaliers

Overall Rank: #12
Conference Rank: #3 ACC
Virginia Men's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
Virginia Team Page


Head Coach George Gelnovatch is not accustomed to losing, nor has he ever been, since taking the head coach spot 16 seasons ago. Coach Gelnovatch has logged an impressive 237 wins over his career with only 93 losses. He also has titles to prove his worth with the 2009 NCAA championship title, four ACC tournament titles and two regular season ACC titles. Coach Gelnovatch has led the Cavaliers to sixteen straight NCAA appearances, which gave Virginia a total of 31 consecutive appearances in program history. Now going into his 17th season, Coach Gelnovatch is looking to add to his resume, but he will have a rocky road ahead of him with new players and a tough schedule.

2011 Record: 12-8-1, 4-3-1
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: George Gelnovatch

Virginia has only a handful of starters returning so Coach Gelnovatch will be utilizing not just their talent, but relying on the incoming talent as well. For the offense, lead scorer Will Bates returns in the forward position. Bates led the team last season with 14 goals while recording four assists. He finished out with 32 points. Ryan Zinkhan will also be joining Bates in the forward slot for the 2012 season. Zinkhan contributed four goals and three assists for the Cavalier offense last year.  Alongside the two forwards will be midfielders Eric Bird, Marcus Douglas, and Ari Dimas who missed six games last season due to an injury. The defense for Virginia welcomes back goalkeeper Spencer LaCivita who started in every game of the 2011 schedule, allowing 27 goals and tracking 78 saves. The Cavaliers welcome in a top recruiting class of eight players that has been deemed one of the best in the NCAA.

Coach Gelnovatch has eight returning redshirts and eight freshmen to work with this season. Some of the redshirts were unable to play last season due to injury, which can be a concerning factor for the Cavaliers this season. Coach Gelnovatch will need all players whether they are freshman, redshirts, or returning starters to be at their best before starting the season. The Cavaliers have one of the hardest schedules in the NCAA, not just in regular season but in conference matches as well. Virginia will have to take on Georgetown as a season opener after a pair of exhibition matches, then UCLA and Xavier for non-conference play. In the conference matches, Duke is their first foe followed by NCAA champs North Carolina, then Maryland, Wake Forest, and Boston College. The Cavaliers will need to beat most of these teams, not just for an ACC title, but for an NCAA tournament bid as well.

Final Projection:
The Cavaliers will play two exhibition matches prior to regular season play, the first against St. Johns. St. Johns will be a tough match but it is what Coach Gelnovatch and the squad needs to make sure they are primed for the treacherous season ahead. Even with such obstacles as the schedule, Virginia has a good shot of making headlines. As long as the team comes ready to play and everyone stays healthy throughout the season, we could see them in the top ten with a shot for the ACC title. As far as the NCAA tournament goes, they will be there and quite possibly cause a few upsets along the way.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Will Bates, Senior, F, 14
Assists: Will Bates, Senior, F, 4
Shots: Will Bates, Senior, F, 61
Saves: Spencer LaCivita, Sophomore, GK, 78

Madness 2013 MLS Draft Rankings:
#20 Will Bates

Madness 2012 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#10 Zach Carroll
#19 Marcus Salandy-Defour
#37 Todd Wharton
#38 Brian James
#42 Scott Thomsen
#59 Darius Madison