#4 Virginia Men's Soccer 2014 Preview

Virginia Cavaliers

Overall Rank: #4
#2 ACC
#4 Virginia Men's Soccer 2014 Preview
Virginia Team Page


Virginia was supposed to be building for the 2014 campaign, but nobody told them that last season. The Cavaliers earned the #8 seed in the NCAA Tournament and cruised past St. John’s, Marquette and Connecticut to reach the College Cup. The Cavaliers lost a close 2-1 affair to Maryland in the national semifinals, yet that is a great building block for a young team. UVA was just 4-3-4 in ACC play, so there is plenty of room to improve and this is a group that can win the ACC and more.

2013 Record: 13-6-5, 4-3-4
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: George Gelnovatch

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Eric Bird, Senior, M, 7
Assists: Eric Bird, Senior, M, 5
Shots: Darius Madison, Junior, F, 53
Saves: Calle Brown, Senior, GK, 24

Other Key Returnees: F Riggs Lennon, F Ryan Zinkhan, F/M Marcus Salandy-Defour, M Todd Wharton, M Patrick Foss, M/D Scott Thomsen, D Matt Brown, D Kyler Sullivan

Key Losses: M Jordan Allen, D Kevin McBride, GK Jeff Gal

UVA ranked 20th in the nation with 1.88 goals per game and they should be even better now. Senior midfielder Eric Bird led the squad with seven goals and five assists, but junior striker Darius Madison could turn into the top goal scorer this year. Madison is a great talent who is due for a breakout season. Fellow junior Todd Wharton is coming off of a fine season as well, netting six goals and adding three assists. Riggs Lennon and Ryan Zinkhan added five goals each. The only significant absence is Jordan Allen, who signed a homegrown contract with Real Salt Lake after his freshman campaign. There were times when this offense was a bit stagnant against some of the better defenses in the ACC, however there are plenty of quality finishers on the roster and a great leader in Bird.

Virginia only allowed 25 goals in 2013, but they will miss center back Kevin McBride, one of the few seniors on last year’s roster. Back are Scott Thomsen, Matt Brown and Kyler Sullivan who are a great group to build around. By ACC play Calle Brown was between the posts. He ended up starting 15 games in 2013. However, Coach George Gelnovatch also has former starter Spencer LaCivita back after redshirting last season and brings in one of the best keepers in the class of 2013 in Jeff Caldwell. This group should be better at the back, but they still need to avoid allowing two or three goals on a somewhat regular basis if they want to win the ACC.

Final Projection:
Now this is an experienced team with all of the tools needed to take home a conference title. And while this should be the big year for Virginia, the program is looking good for the future. It is not a big class of newcomers, but Coach Gelnovatch has brought in a lot of talent. Those freshmen may find it hard to find the pitch in 2013, but there is enough talent to push the returning starters or at least provide quality depth off of the bench.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 1.88 (20th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.98 (54, 5)
Shutout Percentage: 0.42 (39, 4)
Save Percentage: 0.706 (160, 11)

Madness 2015 MLS Draft Rankings:
#25 Eric Bird

Madness 2014 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#61 Steven Gandy
#103 Jake Rozhansky


See All College Sports Madness Top 44 Men's Soccer Previews