The NC State men’s soccer team fell short in its first true test of the season and was shut out 2-0 on the road Friday night by No. 5 Virginia.
The Wolfpack (4-2-0, 1-1-0 ACC) could not get anything going against a strong, undefeated Cavalier (6-0-0, 2-0-0 ACC) squad that outshot the Pack 13-4. While NC State had flashes of life near the end of the match, with all four of its shots coming in the final 10 minutes, it just couldn’t break through UVa’s defense.
The Cavaliers have been a dominant powerhouse this year in the NCAA with its goalkeeper, Colin Shutler, entering the match ranked first in the ACC among goals-against leaders with a 0.2 GAA. With the shutout tonight, Shutler has also picked up his ACC-best fifth shutout of the season. NC State’s senior keeper Vinnie Durand was ranked third in goals against, with a 0.69 GAA.
The match opened fairly even, with neither team being able to put up a shot in the opening 10 minutes. Near the end of the first half, however, UVa found the back of the Wolfpack net as a cross from the right landed perfectly in front of Virginia’s Daryl Dike who put it past Durand.
The senior keeper did his part to keep the Wolfpack within reach of the game, stopping two additional UVa scoring chances in the first half. One was from outside the 18 off an NC State turnover and another from in between both boxes.
The second half didn’t start any better for the Wolfpack, who was still seeking its first shot of the match. The dominant play that UVa exhibited had the Pack shook and it couldn’t ever seem to find a way to play at its own pace.
While NC State managed to put up a few chances in desperation time during the final 10 minutes of the match, including a header attempt from freshman defender Pablo Pedregosa that sailed just inches wide of the far post, it wasn’t enough to turn the tempo.
UVa picked up its second goal with only seconds left on the clock after being awarded a penalty kick inside the box. Durand seemed to have guessed right on the shot, but the ball was placed well enough to still beat him out.
The Wolfpack had a rude awakening to the style of play evident in the NCAA’s top teams and will need to address some key areas if it hopes to be able to compete against them with games against teams like No. 16 Notre Dame, No. 15 Duke and No. 1 Wake Forest fast approaching.
The Pack will have a week to work on things as its next match is another ACC road game against the Louisville Cardinals on Friday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m.