NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After 99 minutes of play it appeared destined that No. 7 Notre Dame (11-6-3) and No. 10 Virginia (10-4-3) would be heading to a second overtime session and then a penalty shootout on Sunday evening at Alumni Stadium in the NCAA Championships Round of 16. The Irish and Cavaliers were deadlocked in a scoreless battle after playing each other to a goalless draw earlier in the season in Charlottesville.
And then the Irish produced a moment of brilliance. Junior Tommy McCabe floated a cross into the box in the final seconds of the first overtime session and freshman Jack Lynn rose above a Virginia defender and nodded home the ball inside the near post and past the outstretched keeper a second before the clock hit zero to send the Irish into a frenzy and into the quarterfinals.
Notre Dame’s 1-0 overtime win gives it a rematch with No. 2 Indiana with a trip to the College Cup in Santa Barbara, California, on the line. The day, time and network will be announced shortly.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish and Cavaliers played to a scoreless draw in the opening 45 minutes, as Notre Dame has not allowed a goal in the first half in 19 of 20 matches this season. The Irish had a number of decent looks at goal, as a header from Jack Casey in the eighth minute sailed just over the bar and a free kick from Macleod was blasted just past the post.
Notre Dame came out of the halftime break on the front foot and earned its first three corners of the match in the opening 10 minutes of the period.
The two sides traded half chances for much of the second stanza but the Irish had two golden chances in the last 11 minutes of regulation that nearly gave them the win. Freshman Mohammed Omar got free for a header off a free kick and sent his shot right at the Virginia keeper who was able to hold on and make the save. In the 86th minute Omar couldn’t quite put his shot on target off a corner, sending it just over the bar off the free look in the box.
For the second straight week Notre Dame’s season was on the line in overtime. The Irish had the first good look at a golden goal in the extra session. Lynn looked to have a breakaway but a Virginia defender tactically brought him down just outside the box. Senior Felicien Dumas nearly produced the winner with the free kick, curling it just wide of the post in the 93rd minute.
In the 99th minute of the first overtime Virginia had its own chance to claim the victory. The Cavaliers’ Joe Bell rifled a shot on target but Notre Dame junior goalkeeper came up with a huge save, sprawling out to get a hand on it, and keep the Irish hopes alive and set up the match winner.
HEAD COACH CHAD RILEY’S TAKE
On the team’s overall performance…
“I am really proud of the group. Credit to Virginia, they are obviously a really good team. They earned the No. 10 seed in the country and performed that way. With that said, I was proud of how our team played.
“I thought we created some really good chances that we were unfortunate not to convert and we limited a very dangerous attacking Virginia team to mostly half chances. I think the 60th minute on we started pressing and then in overtime Duncan [Turnbull] came up with a great save to keep us in it and then a great ball from Tommy McCabe and Jack Lynn with a wonderful header at the back post.”
On what an overtime win does for the team moving forward…
“The biggest thing the overtime or PK wins do is let you know that there is always a way. Something good can happen at the end. If you lose games like this it is hard to believe that something good can happen. Our guys push with a lot of belief that they will be able to find a way.”
On the development of the defense…
“Knowing and having familiarity with each other this time of year is important. The way we defend as a team is something they are getting comfortable with. Really limiting their dangerous moments, such crosses into the box we comfortably deal with, is big. I am really proud of that group. Patrick Berneski and Sean Dedrick have really been communicating well and I think that really helps the group defensively.”
STAT OF THE MATCH
With the victory the Irish punched their ticket to the quarterfinal, marking the fourth appearance in the round in program history. Notre Dame’s last quarterfinal appearance came during the 2013 season, which ended with the Irish claiming the College Cup.
NOTES OF THE MATCH
- The Irish improve to 19-18-3 in the NCAA Championships in program history.
- The Irish have now reached the quarterfinals four times in program history.
- Notre Dame recorded its ninth clean sheet of the season and has held the opposition to one or no goals in 16 of 20 matches.
- After holding Virginia scoreless in the first half, the Irish have now shut out the opposition in 19 of 20 first halves this season.
- Lynn’s goal is the third of his career.
- McCabe notched the fourth assist of his career and second of his junior season.
- Senior Sean Dedrick also picked up an assist on the game winner and now has eight assists in his career and two in 2018.
- Turnbull recorded his sixth clean sheet of the season and is 6-1-2 in 2018.
Notre Dame advances to the quarterfinal and will face No. 2 Indiana with the winner advancing to the College Cup in Santa Barbara, California. The match time, date and network will be announced shortly.