The 2006 season was a largely forgettable one for Virginia's Barlow brothers, Jeremy and Neil, but they have recovered to lead the fourth-ranked Cavaliers to a 5-1-0 start.
They had played together one season at Langley High School, reaching the Virginia state championship, and hoped to go far together last season on one of Virginia's best teams in years.
But Jeremy, then a junior, suffered a knee injury and then was suspended for violating team rules. After being named the ACC Tournament MVP as a freshman in 2004 and leading the Cavs with nine assists in 2005, he only saw spot duty in 2006.
That was more than Neil saw in his first season. He ended up playing just 117 minutes in three games.
Virginia advanced to the Men's College Cup for the first time since the 1997 season, but the Barlows spent most of the time on the bench.
Fast forward to 2007. The Cavs lost three Adam Cristman, Nico Colaluca and Bakary Soumare to MLS teams and were badly in need of help. Coach George Gelnovatch reshaped his team, packing his midfield in support of the Cavs' lone striker, the giant German Yannick Reyering.
Jonathan Villanueva, the U.S. U-20 international who had an extensive tryout at Dutch club Ajax before heading to Charlottesville in 2007, was expected to be Virginia's main man in midfield, but the Barlow brothers have been the major contributors.
Neil Barlow scored the first goal in a 2-1 comeback victory over Campbell on Wednesday and now has three goals in six games. He stripped the ball from a St. John's layer that led to the Cavs' overtime goal in their 1-0 win on Sunday.
In the opening game of the season, a 5-0 win over Columbia, Jeremy Barlow assisted on one goal and was taken down for a penalty converted by Reyering. He also had an insurance goal in the Cavs' 2-0 victory over Tulsa.
Villanueva, meanwhile, has no points in six games.
The Barlows are happy to be back together -- on the field rather than on the bench.
"It's fun playing with him," Neil told the Charlottesville Daily Progress. "We both kind of play the same way. I know what he's going to do, and he knows what I'm going to do."
NOTABLE. Reyering didn't start against Campbell on Wednesday night but came off the bench in the second half and converted the deciding penalty kick in the 83rd minute.
"This game was a chance for some guys who don't normally start to get some minutes and for our guys who normally go a full 90 to rest some," said Gelnovatch. "Give Campbell a lot of credit. They are a great team and had a game plan that they executed well."
Freshmen Dan Louisignau and Chase Neinken made their first starts.