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Sports

Irish fall 2-1 in overtime heartbreaker against Hokies

| Monday, September 27, 2021

Notre Dame men’s soccer dropped a heartbreaker on Friday, falling 2-1 in overtime to No. 12 Virginia Tech on the road in Blacksburg. 

The testy conference affair saw the Irish play out a strong performance against a nationally-regarded opponent but ultimately fall just short of an upset victory. After a first half without any goals (though it is of note that the visiting Fighting Irish impressively outshot Virginia Tech 7-2), it was the Hokies who would strike first in the second half. Jacob Labovitz fired Tech into the lead in the 53rd minute, but mere seconds after kickoff Notre Dame would earn a prime chance to level the score. Daniel Russo was taken down in the box by a Hokie defender, and the referee awarded the Irish a penalty. From there Philip Quinton did the rest, cooly slotting his spot-kick into the bottom corner for the equalizer.

From there, both teams struggled to find the winner in normal time without avail. The Irish would see the first big chance of extra time, as Jack Lynn lofted a shot over Virginia Tech goalkeeper Ben Martino, but the Tech defense did well to clear it off the line. And minutes later, just before the start of the second overtime period, Danny Flores found the back of the net for the Hokies to walk off a win in Blacksburg. 

The loss was an unfortunate one for Notre Dame, but not one without a silver lining. While “almost won” isn’t much of a consolation, the Irish kept tight to a top-level team for a full regulation match and then very nearly took it home in extra time. Experience on the road is invaluable when facing an ACC slate that contains hurdles on every trip, and having to go to Virginia to play the Hokies should benefit the Irish down the line as other nationally ranked opponents appear on the schedule — with a trip to Clemson popping out as a major date to circle in red on the calendar. 

Coming up next Notre Dame should have a far easier time getting past Trine University in an in-state clash that figures to be a light match to help the Irish find form before they welcome a dangerous Virginia team to South Bend on October 1st. Trine will enter the game at a 5-3 clip, with Tyler Murphy leading the way for the Thunder so far. Murphy has notched eight goals and an assist thus far this season, giving him an impressive 17 total points on the year. One interesting note in reviewing the Trine stat sheet is their use of goalies — three different goalkeepers have earned minutes in between the pipes for the Thunder this season. Troy Saylor (four starts) and Luis Rodriguez (three starts) have seen the lion’s share of minutes, but Connor McKenzie has also gotten time as well. Who Trine opts to start in net against the Irish appears to be a mystery with the game just days away. 

Catch the Irish taking on the Thunder at Alumni Stadium this Tuesday, at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.

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