The capital of the collegiate soccer world is now Charlottesville, Virginia. For the first time in school history, the Virginia men’s and women’s soccer teams are both ranked No. 1 in the United Soccer Coaches’ Poll at the same time.
This is the first time since 2014 that the men’s team headlines the United Coaches’ rankings. The Cavaliers are 9-0-0 overall and 3-0 in the ACC this season. This is the first time since 1993 the Hoos have won their first nine games, and it is the best start under head coach George Gelnovatch.
While the Cavaliers have enjoyed playing in the friendly confines of Klöckner Stadium, they have also been able to get the job done on the road and at neutral sites. In the games outside of Charlottesville, the Hoos have three wins against Top 25 opponents, with one coming in Washington D.C. against the then No. 1 ranked Maryland Terrapins and another at then No 2. ranked Duke. Both games were won by two goals.
The defense for the men, led by senior captain Robin Afamefuna, has been lights out. Virginia has only given up one goal this entire season. In addition to the defense from the field players, only allowing one goal in nine games can be attributed to the phenomenal play of redshirt junior goalkeeper Colin Shutler. This past week, Shutler was named ACC Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.
For the women’s team, this marks the third consecutive week on top of the polls. The Cavaliers are 10-0-2 overall and 1-0-2 in the ACC this season. Four of these wins have come against opponents ranked in the Top 25, with their most recent victory being over the No. 16 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies. That opened the Commonwealth Clash competition between the schools.
A combination of high-powered offense and shut-down defense has been the recipe for UVA’s undefeated start. The Hoos have scored 38 goals, while only giving up four so far this season. Freshman forward Diana Ordonez and senior forward Meghan McCool have led the way for the Virginia offense, already scoring 10 and 8 goals, respectively. Eight other Cavaliers have gotten in on the goal scoring action, as well.
A main reason Virginia has only given up four goals through 12 games of play has been the performance of junior goalkeeper Laurel Ivory, who is only responsible for allowing three of those four goals. Like her male counterpart Shutler, Ivory picked up her second ACC Defensive Player of the Week award this past week.
Both teams put their No. 1 rankings to the test this Friday as the women travel to Coral Gables to take on Miami, while the men host No. 24 ranked Louisville at Klöckner Stadium. The games will kick off at 7 p.m.