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ND Men’s Soccer

Notre Dame men’s soccer downs Virginia 2-1

| Monday, October 4, 2021

Friday night, Notre Dame men’s soccer took down another ACC opponent at home, beating Virginia 2-1 to stay unbeaten at Alumni Stadium in conference games.

Senior midfielder Mohamed Omar got the scoring started early for the Irish. He rose off the ground above the Cavalier defense on a corner kick to head home the opening goal in the 22nd minute. The Irish would then experience some struggles in front of the net. Despite several prime chances to put the game away with a second goal throughout the rest of the first half and the opening stages of the second, the Irish struggled to find the razor-sharp edge needed to net a second goal. Most notably, Omar received a pass directly in front of the face of goal in the 52nd minute, but opted to try for another pass instead of slotting the ball away the first time. The subsequent shot from senior forward Jack Lynn was blocked away by the Cavaliers. 10 minutes later, though, Notre Dame, who outshot Virginia 16-4 on the night, would finally break through, as Lynn got his goal with a nice curled effort on it from the edge of the box. Virginia would slot home a consolation goal in the final minute of the match, but would fail to muster a second goal in the subsequent scramble to equalize.  

The win marks the second victory over the Cavaliers in two years for Notre Dame, who before last season had not beaten Virginia since the fall season of 2015. Such a stat is both a fair marker of Notre Dame’s status as a team that can compete within the ranks of the ACC’s top half as well as Virginia’s fall from grace — just two seasons ago the Cavaliers were a penalty kick away from a national championship and were all but invincible against any of the ACC’s non-elite soccer schools. 

Notre Dame will now look ahead to a midweek clash with Purdue-Fort Wayne. This game appears like it will be another lower-level, out-of-conference tune-up before yet another major ACC clash on Friday. The Mastodons are 3-5-1 on the season, and much like the Trine Thunder, whom the Irish played before Virginia last week, don’t appear to be (at least on paper) at a comparable level with the Irish. Redshirt junior forward Keith Larson should lead the Purdue-Fort Wayne attack, having scored three goals in just 632 minutes this season. Midfielders Ali Nasser and Alejandro Lopez have also chipped in to help with the Mastodon attack as each of them claim a pair of goals on the season.

After Purdue-Fort Wayne, the Irish will face a major test as they hit the road to play the 8-2 (3-1 in ACC play) Clemson Tigers, who are fresh off a key road win themselves against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. With Clemson as one of the conference’s top teams, it will take the best Notre Dame has to offer to leave Clemson with a victory — but if they do get the win, it will be one that could go a long way in both teams’ conference tournament seedings. The Tigers run an aggressive pressing style that has given many teams trouble in the sweltering South Carolina weather. Because of that, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Notre Dame rest a number of key players against Purdue-Fort Wayne to ensure their legs are fresh for a bigger night on Friday.

The Irish will be back in action against Purdue-Fort Wayne on Tuesday, as they take on the Mastodons at Alumni Stadium at 7 p.m.

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