Virginia Men’s Soccer Quick Take: George Gelnovatch, Leo Afonso On Win Against Hokies

Virginia celebrates its comeback win against Virginia Tech. ~ Photo By Emmy Franklin/ and Emmy Franklin Photography

The Virginia men’s soccer team defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Smithfield Commonwealth Clash on Friday. The Hoos trailed 1-0 for the majority of the night despite controlling play, but erupted with a 15-minute barrage of goals to rally for the 4-2 victory.

Andreas Ueland, Kome Ubogu, Phil Horton, and Leo Afonso were responsible for UVA’s points in the win over the Hokies. All of the production came after the 70th minute. Afonso proved great leadership with an assist to put the first goal on the board for Virginia and he closed the game with a goal for himself. On the scoring play that first tied the game at 1-1, Afonso took a soft touch on the right side, quickly changed direction, and then sent a centering pass to Ueland for the captain-to-captain connection. Ubogo followed five minutes later with a diving header that gave the Hoos the lead. Horton and Afonso wrapped it up with back-to-back goals in the 83rd and 84th minutes.

The Sabre caught up with coach George Gelnovatch and Afonso for their takes on the big win. Quick Take: Virginia Coach George Gelnovatch

Maddie: Coming off the loss from Maryland, what did you do to prepare your team for this game?

Coach Gelnovatch: Well, we wanted a response after a game like that. Obviously to be down again and we were in similar situations at halftime of this game as we were in the Maryland game. Having gone through what we had gone through, the response was better. We were prepared for it. Nobody got frustrated, nobody got negative or on each other. I feel like, and I told the television this at half time, all we needed was a goal. I told them if we score a goal, we’re gonna win it.

Maddie: Kome Ubogu seemed to be a game changer. Can you speak to him as a player and a teammate?

Coach Gelnovatch: He’s a physical presence, right? I mean he’s a big, strong, athletic guy and the goal that he scored, that second goal, obviously at the time the go-ahead goal, it was a hard diving little header that he had to do there, so he’s really important and he’s been really good.

Maddie: Moving ahead in ACC play, what can we expect to see from your team?

Coach Gelnovatch: Tuesday we have LaSalle, that’s a nonconference game, and then we are fortunate enough to be at home again against Notre Dame, so these next two games we are at home and those are the games you want to win! The ACC games and non-conference games at home, you want to win those games and if we win those games we are in good shape. Quick Take: Leo Afonso

Maddie: With a rivalry game like Virginia Tech, how do you prepare your team as a leader for this environment and this competition?

Afonso: I think we got that sense from Maryland when we came in and then this whole week we’ve been preparing mentally, just knowing that we had to come with intensity too. It was a good game. I mean the first half they were dropped off and it was hard to break them down and then the second half just opened up.

Maddie: In the first half, you all seemed to win the time of possession but you couldn’t really finish. What changed in the second half?

Afonso: I think they got tired. I think we moved the ball a lot and they were just dropped off and created more space ’cause they were tired and we were able to get the ball in behind.

Maddie: And you had a beautiful connection