Oct. 14, 2016
by Tony Jones
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A dominant second half from the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team fell just shy of victory in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) action on Friday. A fortuitous seventh minute goal by Virginia lifted the No. 21 Cavaliers to a 1-0 upset of the No. 1/2 Irish in front of an energized crowd inside KlÃƒÆ’Â¶ckner Stadium.
When the dust settled, Notre Dame (10-2-1, 3-2-1 ACC) outshot host Virginia (7-2-4, 2-2-2 ACC) by a 15-4 margin, including a definitive 11-3 split in the second half of play. The Cavaliers held on in part as a result of stellar play from goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell, who turned aside seven shots for a well-earned clean sheet.
Virginia stunned the Irish defense in the seventh minute thanks a skillful steal of a crossing pass in the midfield by Edward Opoku. Opoku carried the ball into the Notre Dame third on the breakaway and buried his fifth goal of the season into the left corner of the Irish net at 6:24 for the 1-0 Cavaliers lead.
Notre Dame controlled the run of play for the duration of the opening half, but a direct header save on an shot attempt by Sean Dedrick in the 22nd minute and a sprawling stop on a Jon Gallagher 20-yard right foot in the 30th minute by Virginia keeper Caldwell kept the Cavaliers in front after 45 minutes.
It was virtually all Notre Dame in the second frame, but Caldwell again answered the call. Saves on dangerous tries by tri-captain Evan Panken in the 53rd minute, Gallagher in the 57th minute, and Gallagher once more in the 63rd minute kept the Irish at bay. Arguably the best Notre Dame chance of the contest, a bending Panken right-footed try to the right post in the 66th minute, clanged off the iron and kept the Irish off the scoreboard.
Notre Dame returns to nonconference action against Northwestern on Tuesday night. The 8 p.m. (ET) match will be contested at Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire of the MLS, in Bridgeview, Illinois.
Single game tickets for the 2016 Notre Dame men’s soccer season remain on sale. Visit und.com/BuyTickets or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356 for more information or to purchase tickets.
Play of the Game
Jon Gallagher found a soft spot in the Virginia defense in the 30th minute and looked poised to strike. A right-footed blast from just outside the top of the Cavalier 18-yard box seemed destined for the back of the Virginia goal, but keeper Jeff Caldwell sprawled toward the right post and made one of his seven saves to keep the door shut.
After Edward Opoku’s seventh minute goal put Virginia in front 1-0 in the seventh minute, Notre Dame held the run of play for nearly the entirety of the final 80 plus minutes. The Irish ultimately outshot the Cavaliers 15-3 during that span, with a 7-1 edge in shots on goal.
Note of the Game
Despite the loss, Notre Dame has now outshot opponents in nine of 13 total starts thus far in 2016. The 11-shot edge against the Cavaliers was the most lopsided shot count posted by the Irish since a 4-0 win over UC Irvine (22-7) in the regular season opener on Aug. 26.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.