A draw is usually an unsatisfactory result in football. For the Cavaliers, however, it looked like a huge win as they scored the equalizer with just a minute and 22 seconds left in regulation time to seemingly prevent a loss and save a tie with the Fighting Irish.
Instead, Notre Dame responded quickly after UVA tried to create one last scoring opportunity in the dying moments of the game. The Irish took possession of the ball and found that the Cavaliers had spread too far on the attacking side, leaving only one backline defender near midfield. Notre Dame freshman KK Baffour broke free with the ball and headed for the UVA goal with less than ten seconds left. Holden Brown tried to make the save, but Baffour beat him and put his shot into the back of the net to retake the Fighting Irish lead just three seconds from time.
The Cavaliers got greedy, trying to score twice in the final 90 seconds, and left themselves exposed at the back. The Irish made them pay, as Notre Dame handed Virginia a heartbreaking 2-1 loss on Friday night at Klockner Stadium.
Despite a 20-8 advantage in shooting, including an 8-3 advantage in shots, Virginia was held scoreless for the first 88 minutes of the game thanks to an incredible performance from Notre Dame goaltender Bryan Dowd, who made seven stops. The UVA offense, which entered the game having scored nine goals in its last two games, had scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity but simply couldn’t capitalize on its chances.
The Fighting Irish, meanwhile, had to struggle just to keep the ball out of their third defense of the pitch. It was a physical battle with both teams whistled for 13 fouls and four yellow cards each, with six of those eight yellows in total in the second half.
After bombarding Notre Dame for the first 60 minutes of the match, the Fighting Irish began to regain ground on the Cavaliers, who saw their momentum wane, replaced by frustration and fatigue. Holden Brown made a few saves on dangerous Notre Dame chances, but it was a chance goal that gave the Irish the lead. In the 68th minute, Notre-Dame obtained a corner. The ball landed near the goal line in an extremely crowded area and deflected wildly into the back of the net. It was unclear who the ball bounced off of, but obviously it wasn’t a Notre Dame player but rather a UVA defender who got the final touch. Officially, the first goal of the match came down as a Notre Dame “team” goal.
The Cavaliers went into desperation mode and aggressively tried to find an equalizer. The scoring chances came, but Bryan Dowd and the Notre Dame defense continued to deny the Hoos. There were several set pieces for UVA in the final minutes, including a crazy 80th minute sequence in which Mortiz Kappelsberger launched a shot that hit the crossbar, returning the ball into the foot of Philip Horton who fired a shot that was saved. by a Dowd plunge. With the opportunities and hits the Cavaliers were receiving, it was becoming more and more unbelievable that they had yet to break through.
Then, in the 89th minute, a free-kick resulted in another hectic sequence just in front of goal in which several UVA shots were blocked from close range. Dowd couldn’t find the ball and eventually Kome Ubogu was there to send the ball into the back of the net, sending the Virginia bench and the crowd at Klockner Stadium into a frenzy, celebrating the equalizer as if it were of a game. winner.
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Virginia had another chance to perhaps steal the win from a corner with 37 seconds left. The cross was pushed back by the Notre Dame defense and KK Baffour did the rest, tracking the ball down the length of the unmarked pitch, scoring to send the UVA crowd into stunned disbelief.
The painful loss gives Virginia its first conference loss of the season as the Cavaliers fall to 4-3 this season. UVA will look to bounce back at home against the American on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
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