The rumor that the number 13 is unlucky has been debunked by Radford University men’s soccer as the Highlanders knocked off No. 10 Virginia Tuesday night in the 13th meeting all-time between the two Commonwealth foes dating back to 1982.
Dropping the first 11 matchups, Radford played then No. 21 Virginia to a 1-1 draw in 2016 after the Cavaliers scored a late goal to force overtime. The 2017 meeting saw the Highlander defense flex its muscles as Virginia attempted 12 shots with six on goal, but limiting the Cavaliers to strong looks on frame.
The first half saw the Cavaliers hold a 4-3 shot edge, with one shot on frame. Virginia opened the second half with four straight shots, three coming on frame, but Radford made the most of its first attempt in the second 45-minute half.
Victor Valls played a beautiful ball from 20-yards out to Sivert Daehlie on the right side of the penalty box. Daehlie sent the ball past Jeff Caldwell to the near corner for his 11th goal on the season.
Daehlie has now scored in six of Radford’s nine non-conference matches, while finding the back of the net in 10 of the last 11 matches.
Attempting to avoid the upset and keep its 15-match non-conference home winning streak intact, Virginia made a late mad dash for the golden goal. In the final 25 minutes, the Cavaliers took four shots with two on frame, but Nicolas Mertzokat increased his save total to six for his fourth career shutout.
Kieran Roberts and Evan Szklennik had attempts on frame during that span as the Highlanders looked to increase their lead as Virginia entered the match with a 7-0-0 record at home.
The win over a ranked opponent marked the first by the Highlanders since a 2-0 victory at No. 21 Elon on Nov. 4, 2015.
Radford has now collected wins over ACC opponents in the last two seasons, defeating NC State 1-0 in 2016. Virginia entered the math with 25 wins in its last 26 home matches.
The Cavaliers last non-conference home loss came on Oct. 13, 2015 in a 1-0 loss against American.
Sivert Daehlie’s game winning goal in the 14th of his career, increasing his career total to 29, moving into sole possession of seventh in program history. Daehlie now has 11 goals in 25 attempts on goal.
Kieran Roberts led the team with three shots, while Evan Szklennik and Daehlie joined Roberts with attempts on goal. Virginia finished with a 12-7 shot advantage, holding a 5-2 edge in corners.
Nicolas Mertzokat finished with six saves, giving him 48 on the season and six matches of four-plus saves. The shutout is the fourth on the season and of Mertzokat’s career, moving him into a two-way tie for 10th in program history.
“Thought the group was very disciplined tonight against a very good and well-coached Virginia team. Now it’s time to turn our focus on playing a tough Winthrop team on Saturday.” ~ Radford head coach Bryheem Hancock
Radford travels to Rock Hill, S.C., to take on Winthrop in a Saturday night battle. Action is slated for a 7 p.m. start.
The Eagles enter the contest with a 3-8-1 overall mark and a 1-3-0 clip in conference play.
In the all-time series, Radford holds a 33-26-12 edge.