The Cavalier Daily
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Men's soccer tames Tigers in triple OT

Even the orange "P" painted on the pitch by some Princeton supporters sometime early yesterday morning could not protect the Tigers from Virginia's fury.

The Cavaliers pulled off a grueling triple-overtime victory Sunday against Princeton, beating the Tigers 2-1 in front of 1,478 fans at Klöckner Stadium.

Halfway through the third overtime period, Drew O'Donnell, Cav co-captain and lone fourth year, found himself at the top of the box with the ball on his feet. He maneuvered around two defenders and cut toward goal. Without hesitation, he ripped a shot that streaked by Tiger keeper Jason White.

What followed was celebration worthy of the World Cup, as O'Donnell ripped off his shirt before being engulfed by a pile of his teammates.

"I don't think any of us had any doubts that we should win this game," O'Donnell said.

The game could not have started any better for the Cavs (13-8-1). The Cavs scored first with only 8:56 gone from the clock. The goal came off a driven cross by forward Ryan Gibbs that was driven into the net with a diving header by fellow first-year Kyle Martino and put Virginia in great position to run away with the game early.

The Cavaliers continued to pour on the pressure for the rest of the half, but were unable to put the Tigers (11-5-2) down for the count. Toward the end of regulation, just when Virginia fans were ready to head home, Princeton countered Martino's early goal with a Lucas Moskowitz shot that flew by Virginia keeper David Comfort to even the score.

"During the last 10 minutes, up a goal, we were tired and started going into a defensive posture," Cavalier Coach George Gelnovatch said. "I almost sensed that they were going to score a goal."

Comfort was caught off guard by the quick cross-and-shoot combination, and barely moved his hand as the ball sailed into the goal. Comfort quickly regained his composure and played the rest of game in high form, grabbing Tiger crosses out of mid-air and stopping a threatening one-on-one breakaway inside the box during the second overtime.

The Tiger goal capped a second half that was rife with Cavalier disappointment, including a number of blundered opportunities in front of Princeton's net.

"It was frustrating because we had plenty of chances to put the game away," O'Donnell said.

During the first OT, a shot by Gibbs was waved off just as it rolled into the back of the net. Many Virginia fans stood and cheered, until the center referee whistled a late offside call against the Cavaliers.

Then Princeton almost ended Virginia's tournament hopes late in the second OT period, when a clearance ball by the Cavs was deflected toward Tiger forward Matt Douglas at the edge of the 18-yard box. Comfort then eased off his line and made an outstretched save which sent the fans into a frenzy.

By the end of second OT, both teams were worn down and it showed in their play. Each squad had a hard time stringing passes together, and first touches became wild.

But O'Donnell ended the marathon with his goal halfway through the third OT, continuing the Cavaliers' recently scorching play.

The match marked the second straight time Virginia has gone into triple overtime. Last Sunday, Duke defeated the Cavs by an identical 2-1 score to win the ACC Championship.

With this victory, the Cavaliers stay alive and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where they face Brown University next Sunday at Klöckner Stadium.

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