[VIRGINA MEN] George Gelnovatch finally got the monkey off his back when he led Virginia to the 2009 men's national championship, the Cavaliers' first title since they won four in a row under Bruce Arena in the early 1990s. Defense powered Virginia to its 2009 title and should be key to its success this year.
Virginia starts out at No. 3 in the Soccer America Preseason Top 25 -- in sharp contrast to last season when the Cavs were unranked after a horrendous pre-season.
But Virginia got hot in the second half of the season and won the ACC title to earn the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind unbeaten and untie Akron.
Soccer America MVP Diego Restrepo shut out 11 straight opponents until Wake Forest scored in the semifinals of the Men's College Cup, but he then stymied Akron, the nation's highest-scoring team, in the final, which the Cavs won in a shootout.
Besides Restrepo, Gelnovatch also returns captains Greg Monaco and Mike Volk and Hunter Jumper on defense. Shawn Barry left school to sign with Austrian club LASK Linz.
Will Bates, the Soccer America Freshman of the Year, scored a team-high 12 goals in 2009. Junior Brian Ownby missed part of the 2009 season to represent the USA at the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt.
Freshman Cobi Span (nicknamed after Cobi Jones) should give a boost to the Cavs' attack, which scored just 37 goals in 25 games.