Irish earn high-powered draw
Kit Loughran | Sunday, September 21, 2014
Notre Dame’s search for revenge against Virginia ended in a 1-1 draw on Sunday at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The No. 5 Irish (3-1-2, 1-0-1 ACC) and No. 7 Cavaliers (4-1-1, 1-0-1) scored one goal apiece in their heated matchup. Virginia handed Notre Dame its only losses last season — a 2-0 regular-season setback and a 3-3 regular-time draw, 4-3 penalty-kick loss, in the semifinals of the ACC tournament. Though the Irish aimed to avenge those two games with a win Sunday, coach Bobby Clark said he was impressed with the team’s performance on the road against a top-10 squad.
“I think the team played well,” Clark said. “We opened the game very strongly, and I thought most of the first half was a strong performance, and we were great in the second half. We played a transition game well and tried to get something out of them, running quick balls into the channels. I think we caused problems for them in that capacity, and that’s where our best shot at goal came from.”
Irish junior midfielder Evan Panken spurred Notre Dame’s scoring opportunity when he played the ball to senior forward Vince Cicciarelli, who was taken down in the penalty box by Cavaliers redshirt freshman defender Wesley Suggs, who received a red card. Junior midfielder Patrick Hodan took the penalty kick and scored his first goal of the season.
Graduate student forward Leon Brown almost tallied another goal for the Irish less than a minute later, but Virginia redshirt senior goalkeeper Calle Brown pushed it wide for the save.
“This put us one goal up and one man up, and at that point, you think you are in the driver’s seat, and so I thought that was the disappointing thing [when they tied it up],” Clark said.
Soon after, Virginia senior midfielder Eric Bird scored the tying goal in the 68th minute with a shot from eight yards out just inside the far post, pushing the match to extra time. Though the Irish came up scoreless in overtime, they dominated possession in the extra periods.
“In OT, we played pretty well as a team,” Cicciarelli said. “We definitely had the ball more than Virginia and created several more chances. Our defense also did great at shutting down their attack and not letting them get any real dangerous opportunities.”
Freshmen forwards Jeffrey Farina and Jon Gallagher both had opportunities to score within minutes of one another during the first overtime period. Farina shot a seven-yard lob that deflected off the crossbar, while Gallagher sent one sailing over the frame. Farina came close to scoring again in the final seconds of the period off a header.
In the second overtime period, Cicciarelli edged into the penalty box for a shot on goal that Virginia’s Brown deflected out of bounds. Cicciarelli attacked again with a shot from the 18-yard box in the 107th minute, but Brown was there once again for the save.
“Offensively, we really exposed their man-to-man with through balls down the channels,” Cicciarelli said. “We were really able to create some great chances. Now we just need to put those opportunities into the back of the net.”
The Irish played strong from the opening minutes of the match, with Cicciarelli taking his first shot in the eighth minute of play. Graduate student goalkeeper Patrick Wall had two saves on the day. Notre Dame also outshot Virginia 16-11 and earned 11 corner kicks to Virginia’s six. Though the Irish could not clinch the win, the team accomplished much in this matchup, compared to its performances against Virginia last season, Cicciarelli said.
“I think that anytime you go on the road in the ACC and get a result, it is a positive,” Cicciarelli said. “Virginia is a very good team, and going to their place and giving them the game that we did is great.”
From one ACC rival to the next, the Irish move on to host No. 1 North Carolina on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.