Nov. 8, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” Despite being the tournament’s sixth seed and traveling for its quarterfinal game, Virginia made use of good fortune as a tournament host and capitalized on two key scoring opportunities to down the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team 2-1 in a semifinal of the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship on Wednesday.
No. 13 Notre Dame (11-6-2) awaits its fate next week in the NCAA Championship draw next week. The Irish are projected to return to the national tournament for the 16th time in the past 17 seasons.
Jeff Farina had an early chance to vault the Irish ahead in the 15th minute. Great touch passing from Notre Dame sprung Farina free in the center of the pitch and just inside the 18-yard box, but he was unable to get a solid right foot on the feed before it was saved.
With No. 17 Virginia (12-3-4) closing in during the 24th minute, Hubbard was called upon to keep the ball away from the Notre Dame frame. A flick shot at the left post was parried out of danger by the veteran Irish minder in the frame.
Despite Notre Dame having the best of the early possession, it was Virginia who struck first in the 38th minute. Robin Afamefuna gathered a nice pass by Pablo Aguilar up the left flank and beat Irish goalkeeper Hubbard at the near post for the 1-0 Cavaliers lead at 37:01.
With Virginia ahead after the opening 45 minutes, Notre Dame answered quickly in the second half. Thomas Ueland sent Jon Gallagher through up the right wing in the 49th minute, and Gallagher slotted a shot to the right of Virginia goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell. Gallagher’s 13th goal of the season tied the contest at 1-1 at 48:23.
Edward Opoku weaved up the end line and through the Notre Dame defense in the 54th minute, passing by the left post and meeting Joe Bell with a dish out front. Bell hammered home his third goal of 2017 to give Virginia control once more at 2-1 at 53:12.
With Opoku on the run in the 60th minute, Hubbard met the dangerous Virginia attacker shaded just inside the top of the 18-yard box and pinned a tricky shot with his legs. The crucial stop kept Notre Dame in the hunt.
The Irish made a dangerous scoring surge into the Virginia zone in the 81st minute. Ueland found possession straightaway at the Hoos cage and sent a left-footed shot toward the far post, but Caldwell sprawled to his left and spoiled the chance.