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Men’s Soccer: Notre Dame loses in ACC tourney

Samantha Zuba | Sunday, November 17, 2013

No. 12 Virginia knows how to cause trouble for the No. 1 Irish.
The Cavaliers knocked Notre Dame out of the ACC Championship with a semifinal win on penalty kicks Friday in Campus Park, Md.
After battling through regulation and two overtimes in a 3-3 tie, Virginia (11-4-4, 5-3-4 ACC) converted four penalty kicks to three for the Irish (12-2-5, 7-2-3).
Both sides played well and made the game exciting, Irish coach Bobby Clark said.
“It was a terrific soccer game,” Clark said. “It was a terrific example of college soccer, with two teams trying to win it. When we went ahead, they fought really hard to get back in the game and pressured hard.”
Irish senior forward Harry Shipp, sophomore midfielder Patrick Hodan and senior defender Andrew O’Malley scored for Notre Dame in regular time, and Cavaliers sophomore midfielder Todd Wharton (penalty kick), sophomore forward Marcus Salandy-Defour and freshman forward Nicko Corriveau found the net for Virginia.
Control of the game shifted between the Irish and the Cavaliers as the goal total mounted.
“A couple of times there were momentum shifts,” Clark said. “We were up by two goals and given a penalty kick. If that goes in, that’s three goals and a bit of safety. [Virginia’s] first goal was a big boost for them as a team, definitely a psychological boost for their team because it brought them within reach. When we got the third goal, we were winning 3-1 with eight or nine minutes to go and you thought that would have been the difference.”
Three of the game’s six goals came in the final 10 minutes of regular time as Virginia mounted a comeback. O’Malley’s goal put the Irish up 3-1 in the 81st minute, but the Cavaliers responded with goals in the 85th and 87th minute to force overtime.
“We’ll see them as lucky breaks, and they’ll see them as created opportunities, but that was the way the game fell,” Clark said.
It was not the first time the Cavaliers felled the Irish this year, as Virginia handed Notre Dame its only loss of the regular season on Oct. 26. The Irish have allowed only 0.57 goals per game for the season, but the Cavaliers managed to score two goals in the first meeting and netted three Friday. Virginia is the only team to score multiple goals in a game against Notre Dame this season.
The Irish struck first with Shipp’s goal in the 21st minute, and Notre Dame held the advantage with a 2-0 lead at halftime. Sophomore midfielder Connor Klekota passed the ball ahead to Shipp who chased it into the box and shot the ball to the left of Cavaliers redshirt junior goalkeeper Calle Brown for a goal. Hodan then scored nearly 24 minutes later to extend Notre Dame’s lead to 2-0 shortly before the break.
Virginia found its stride in the second half, however. Wharton converted a penalty kick in the 57th minute, and the Cavaliers turned up the heat in the closing minutes of regular time. Salandy-Defour and Corriveau sparked Virginia’s comeback with their late goals and evened the score by the end of regulation.
After two scoreless periods of overtime, the game came down to penalty kicks. Shipp converted for the Irish, but Brown saved shots from Klekota and Hodan to set the Irish back. The Cavaliers held on to secure the 4-3 penalty-kick advantage and win the match.
Clark attributed the loss to a combination of Virginia’s skill and Irish mistakes.
“There are a few things we can certainly improve on,” Clark said. “Virginia is a good team. They have very good attacking players who are very talented, so you have to give them credit for that, but at the same time we have to look at ourselves and see what we can do better.”
The first round of the NCAA Tournament begins Thursday, and tournament seedings are announced today.
Contact Samantha Zuba at szuba@nd.edu