Men’s Soccer: Hoos down Heels, 1-0, clinch No. 3 seed in ACC Tourney

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

In a cagey match between ACC Coastal rivals with ACC Tournament seeding on the line, the No. 14 Virginia men’s soccer team was able to find a late game-winning goal against No. 10 North Carolina, thanks to an incredible effort from Mo Thiam, who continued his hot scoring streak on Friday night at Klöckner Stadium.

85’ Virginia — Thiam (O’Connor, Ahlander)


Both teams struggled to find space in the attacking areas throughout the first half but North Carolina (7-3-5, 2-3-3 ACC) created the better of the attacking chances early, recording six first-half shots while forcing Joey Batrouni to make a pair of saves.

The Cavaliers (10-3-3, 5-2-1) were forced to defend for long periods of the match as the teams went into the halftime break scoreless.

In the second half Virginia registered an excellent chance at goal to open the scoring when Stephen Annor received the ball in a dangerous area near the left post. Instead of cutting it back inside, Annor let loose his shot which was punched away by the goalkeeper. Mouhameth Thiam kept the ball alive with a header flicked back to Umberto Pelà whose shot sailed wide of the far post.

In the 85th minute, Virginia’s holding midfielder, Umberto Pelà applied pressure high up the field gaining possession before smashing the ball off a Tar Heel defender to win a Virginia corner kick. An out-swinging ball from Axel Ahlander was headed back into the center of the penalty area where Thiam fired a strike into the back of the net to give Virginia its one-goal lead.


“We played a very good Carolina team that had a lot to play for. They brought it and we had to deal with it. I think this game was a little bit different for us since we had a midweek game against an opponent that felt like playing an ACC team. The thing I am most proud of about this performance is that we had to defend a lot and we did it as a team. In the second half we were very measured on how we countered. In the last 15 minutes of the game kind of felt like we were going to score and sure enough we did with good aggressive action from the team.”


  • The Cavaliers secure the No. 3 seed in the ACC Tournament and earn an automatic berth in the quarterfinal round
  • Virginia only needed a point to secure a top-four seed, but the win lifts UVA (16 points) ahead of Clemson (14 points) for the third seed
  • Virginia will play its quarterfinal match at Klöckner Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m.
  • The Cavaliers will host the winner of a first-round match-up between 11th-seeded NC State and sixth-seeded Syracuse.


  • Thiam’s goal in the 85th minute is the latest scored by a Cavalier in any game this season
  • Thiam scored his fifth goal of the season and his second game-winner—he has now scored or assisted on a team-leading six game-winning goals this season
  • Thiam has scored in three of his last four games
  • Ahlander recorded his first assist of the season, while O’Connor chipped in his second
  • Virginia is now 4-2-2 against opposition ranked higher in the United Soccer Coaches poll
  • The Cavaliers improve to 9-1-1 at its home stadium and are unbeaten in their last nine at home
  • Virginia improves to 6-0-3 on the season in games decided by a goal or less.


  • Virginia is unbeaten in its last eight games, including four consecutive wins
  • Over the course of that stretch, UVA has outscored its opponents by a margin of 15-4
  • Virginia has kept four clean sheets in its last eight matches
  • In its last four ACC matches, Virginia has taken 13 points out of a possible 15 (4-0-1)


Virginia will host the winner of Syracuse and NC State in the ACC Quarterfinal round at Klöckner Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. The match will be broadcast on ACC Network.