Villanueva leads Virginia into first final since 1997

[MEN'S COLLEGE CUP] No. 2 seed Virginia moved into the NCAA Division I men's final for the first time since 1997 with a 2-1 overtime win over ACC rival Wake Forest. Jonathan Villanueva was the star for the Cavs, setting up Cameroonian-born Tony Tchani and U.S. U-20 Brian Ownby for the two goals.

"Obviously we're ecstatic to be playing for a national championship with this win," said Virginia coach George Gelnovatch. "Wake Forest is an excellent team. I thought the game had its moments both ways. I thought our demeanor and our resolve to start the overtime right from the start, right from the kickoff, I thought we were going to win that game. Whether it was overtime, whether it was PKs, it didn't matter. That's how we've been all season."

Virginia took a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute when Villanueva broke free at the top of the penalty area. His shot was saved by Wake goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald, but the rebound came right to Tchani, who scored from 10 yards out.

Wake Forest drew even in the 70th minute as Corben Bone dribbled down the end line and knocked in a shot from a bad angle for the equalizer. The goal snapped Diego Restrepo's school-record shutout streak at 1176:51.

In the 93rd minute. Villanueva lifted a ball over top of the defense from midfield that found the run of Ownby, who beat Ike Opara and Anthony Arena and chipped a shot from 20 yards out over Fitzgerald to send the Cavs into their first final since 1997.

"We won the ball and Johnny had it," said Ownby. "I saw there was a big gap between the defense and the goal. I told him to hit one over the top. He hit it perfectly, I just took a touch and lobbed it over the keeper. I saw I was behind the player so I ran past him. I just got there first and put it in the net."

Villanueva, a senior, had entered Virginia as one of the most highly touted players in the country, having starred for the Dallas Texans, one of the best youth teams ever assembled, and trialed at Dutch club Ajax. He entered the College Cup with one goal and no assists in 23 games.

"I'm very proud of my team and the effort that they put out in games this season," Wake coach Jay Vidovich said. "They brought us back to the College Cup. To see where they started out the preseason and where they ended here, I can't say enough about them as young men. They've done a tremendous job and I thank them very much."

Dec. 11 in Cary, N.C.
Virginia 2 Wake Forest 1 (OT). Goals: Tchani (Villanueva) 55, Ownby (Villanueva) 93; Bone 70.
Virginia -- Restrepo, Barry, Monaco, Volk, Jumper, Barlow, LaBauex, Villanueva, Dimas, Tchani, Bates. Subs: Evans, Ownby.
Wake Forest -- Fitzgerald, Arena, Lichtfuss, Adams, Opara, da Luz, Bone, Norman, Redmond, Schilawski, Lubahn. Subs: Estridge.
Referee: Misail Tsapos.
Att.: 8,862.

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