Cavalier Corner

August 2021

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cavalier sports 6 CAVALIER CORNER G eorge Gelnovatch is heading into his 26th year as UVA's men's soccer coach. He led the Cavaliers to the NCAA Tournament each of his first 24 years at the helm, before heavy personnel losses from the 2019 national runner-up squad and the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a 7-8-1 record last season. Cavalier Corner: How has former stand- out Daryl Dike's path to stardom since leav- ing UVA impacted the program? Gelnovatch: "I think his rise started in that 2019 postseason. … Had he returned, he would have been banging in 20 goals in the next college season. "On the recruiting piece of things on a na- tional scale, on every level it reflects on us. From that standpoint, it has been very helpful." Cavalier Corner: How much does former Cavalier Joe Bell playing in the Olympics for New Zealand mean to the program? Gelnovatch: "The Olympic event is prob- ably one of the most coveted championships in world soccer. It's not a World Cup and I don't know if it's up there with the Champi- ons League, but it's one of the more coveted, watched, respected and scouted events in soccer. It's a big deal, it's a massive deal to represent your country in the Olympics." Cavalier Corner: What did you learn from the 2020 season and how will it help the program? Gelnovatch: "I don't even know where to start with how bizarre, surreal and different last year was. The teams that were successful last year were those who were able to stay intact going from 2019 to 2020. Those teams had a real advantage. Our roster took more losses [to the professional ranks] than any other team in my 25 years here. "Having said that, I do think that there are some guys, two or three of them, that really benefited from all these games. … I'm hop- ing that we can reap the benefits from the experience for 2021 and 2022." Cavalier Corner: What can you tell us about this year's recruiting class? Gelnovatch: "Just like any recruiting class, until we get them on the field and get a chance to figure them out, I don't know exactly what we're going to get or where they are or how they will fit in. "I will say that we haven't had this much depth since our 2009 national championship team. That was one of our priorities — to create more depth on the team. I think it was an Achilles' heel of our 2019 team where we were phenomenal, best in the country, with our top 11 or 12 players." Cavalier Corner: What excites you most about this team this year? Gelnovatch: "I think the biggest thing for me is the depth piece and the potential quality. I haven't been chomping at the bit this early about getting started for as long as I can remember. Usually, I start ramping up around the last week of July, but this year it's probably since the end of May. "… I'm excited about what we have." — Scott Fitzgerald A ssistant AD for strategic marketing and fan engagement Greg Driscoll is the man behind the Virginia sports mobile app. The UVA grad talks about this handy tool that all Cavalier fans should have on their phones to enhance their game-day experience, whether they are watching at home or in person. Cavalier Corner: Why should Cavalier fans download the Virginia sports mobile app? Driscoll: "We partnered with FanThreeSixty on the mo- bile app leading into the fall 2018 season and originally we wanted to position it as a must-have for game day — the companion that would tell you where the nearest conces- sions stand or restroom was, an easy connection to the fan assistance line, etc. With the pandemic last year and not being able to host many fans at our venues, we repositioned the app to be more of a virtual engagement tool for our fans. In 2021, we're aiming for the app to offer the best of both worlds, whether you're at Scott Stadium or any of our venues on Grounds, or following from afar. "We're introducing live stats to the app across a number of our sports in 2021. Fans can customize their experience and receive updates and the latest breaking news on the sports they care about the most. It's a community of 36,000 Hoos and growing by the day." Cavalier Corner: What are some features of the app? Driscoll: "We like to have fun on the app, but also for it to be a useful tool for our fan base. Season ticket holders will be able to manage their ticket account through a tab on the app, and fans can purchase tickets easily on it as well. "We would encourage fans to enable location services if they are attending games in person. We plan to introduce exclusive promo- tions that are only available for fans who are attending our games in 2021-22." Cavalier Corner: What have been some of the more fun/successful promotions on the app? Driscoll: "We've had a lot of fun with the trivia con- tests on the app, especially since the early days of the pandemic. We did a three-month-long promo called Streak for Season Tickets last April-June. We released a new trivia question on the Monday of every week. If a fan got the answer correct, they were served another question the next day, with the goal of completing a streak of five consecutive days. Each perfect week earned the fan an entry in the grand prize drawing for Virginia football season tickets, a season parking pass, $500 shopping spree at the Cavalier Team Shop and Papa John's pizza at every tailgate. Congrats to Danielle Eavers for winning the contest! "We've held a bunch of other contests — Name that Call, where fans could listen to a famous radio play-by-play call and then answer a trivia question about the game; Guess Hoo; and, most recently, Random Knowledge Trivia, which was a lot of fun. That one really rewarded the true Hoos who know UVA athletics — stuff that you can't simply Google to find out. "The check-in feature is fun, which allows fans to track their re- cord of attending games. Hoos Cam is a fun photo filter, too!" — Melissa Dudek five questions with Men's Soccer Head Coach George Gelnovatch behind the scenes Assistant AD For Strategic Marketing And Fan Engagement Greg Driscoll DRISCOLL PHOTO COURTESY UVA GELNOVATCH PHOTO COURTESY UVA

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