UVA defeated reigning national champions Clemson on Saturday night at Historic Riggs Field thanks to a late winner from freshman Triton Beauvois.
Virginia (8-4-1, 4-1-1 ACC) spent most of the first half absorbing pressure from #18 Clemson (9-3-1, 2-2-1 ACC) while the Tigers compared 10 shots to Virginia’s three in the first half hour of the game.
A defining moment occurred for Virginia with just over 30 minutes played. After Clemson captured the ball in midfield, the Tigers were on a break. Just as the ball entered Virginia’s 18-yard box, senior captain Andreas Ueland blocked the chance with a trademark sliding tackle that was executed perfectly.
Though the Cavaliers didn’t dominate possession play in the first half, Virginia proved deadly on counterattack when Albin Gashi won a ball in midfield with nothing but space in front of him in the 37th minute. Gashi carried the ball high up the field and released Leo Afonso down the right wing, Afonso flicked in a shot on goal that was brushed aside by the Clemson keeper but a lurking Kome Ubogu tapped the rebound home to scoop the goal against the flow of play open .
The second half looked like a completely different game as Virginia took control of the possession battle early on. As Clemson attempted to push forward and equalize, the game opened up and took on a frantic pace, with each team running deep into their attacking third.
The Cavaliers had an excellent chance to double their lead when Leo Afonso slashed past his defender from the left in the box. With a powerful right foot drive, Afonso slammed a shot hard off the bar for Clemson to clear.
The game was then evened out when Clemson equalized in the 68th minute from a free kick deep into Virginia’s defence. Clemson’s Mohamed Seye rose, hit a high-arched ball and headed it past Holden Brown to level the score.
The Cavaliers weren’t ready to settle for a draw. Just before the 80th minute, Paul Wiese collected a ball in midfield on the right touchline. After a quick cut inside, Wiese switched fields with a curling ball over the top to release newcomer Triton Beauvois when the ball landed perfectly on his feet fell. With an additional inside touch, Beauvois calmly shoved the ball home to secure all three points for Virginia.
“With an early start at 5:30 it was hot out here for both teams and I think that caused the game to slow down a bit early on,” said UVA coach George Gelnovatch. “What’s striking about that win is that it wasn’t our sharpest performance of the season, but while it might not have been our best game, we still found a way to be dangerous in attack and did enough to win the game . ”
The Cavaliers return home on Tuesday to take on Hofstra at Klöckner Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m