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Men’s soccer falls 2-1 to Notre Dame in another double overtime thriller

Despite an early lead, the Cavaliers couldn’t fend off Notre Dame as they went into overtime for the fourth consecutive time this season

<p>The Cavaliers couldn't produce a goal in the second period of overtime against the Fighting Irish Sunday, leading them to fall behind in ACC standings with a 1-2-1 record as they prepare to face Syracuse at home Friday.</p>

The Cavaliers couldn't produce a goal in the second period of overtime against the Fighting Irish Sunday, leading them to fall behind in ACC standings with a 1-2-1 record as they prepare to face Syracuse at home Friday.

Virginia suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season following a 2-1 defeat against Notre Dame Saturday at Alumni Stadium in South Bend, Ind. Despite being the aggressor in the first half and entering halftime with a goal under their belt, the Cavaliers (1-2-1, 1-2-1 ACC) failed to keep the Fighting Irish (3-2-0, 2-1-0 ACC) from extending the match into overtime and capitalizing on a golden goal in the second period of extra minutes.

Following its match against Pittsburgh Oct. 18, during which Virginia played from behind throughout the game, the Cavaliers found their offensive groove early in Saturday’s showdown. 

In the 22nd minute, freshmen defender Rafael Caipo delivered a through pass from beyond midfield that glided past nearly all of the Fighting Irish before finding sophomore forward Alex Gunnarsson. Gunnarsson’s exceptional touch and subsequent strike lifted above Notre Dame’s keeper and gave Virginia an early 1-0 lead.

The Cavaliers continued to add offensive pressure in the first half and dominated possession. Exceptional defense kept the Fighting Irish at bay as they finished the half with zero shots, leaving Virginia to enter the second half with momentum on its side.

Less than nine minutes into the second half, however, Notre Dame gained momentum as junior forward Jack Lynn found the back of the net off a corner entry pass to tie the score at one goal apiece. 

Both teams turned up the heat through the remainder of the half, and after a poor offensive performance in the first period, the Fighting Irish offered seven shots while the Cavaliers recorded six. 

In the 77th minute, senior forward Irakoze Donasiyano took on a handful of Notre Dame defenders with an aggressive dribbling drive to the left side of the net. After clearing enough space to deliver a powerful shot on goal for Virginia, senior goalkeeper Keagan McLaughlin deflected the ball just in time in a diving save that sent the game into overtime.

Going into Saturday’s match, the Cavaliers had already played extra minutes in its first three matches of the season — a startling feat that was extended Saturday against Notre Dame. However, Virginia’s experience in overtime didn’t prove advantageous as it couldn’t score in the first period and entered double overtime needing a goal to bounce back in the ACC standings.

Cavalier freshman goalkeeper Alex Rando managed to keep the Fighting Irish from scoring thanks to a handful of outstanding saves in the second half and first overtime period, but Notre Dame was able to secure the golden goal following a corner pass that deflected off of a Virginia defender and into the net. The play was officially recorded as an own goal by the Cavaliers.

Virginia finds itself at a crossroads as it looks to improve a 1-2-1 record in its next matchup against Syracuse Friday at 8 p.m. at Klockner Stadium. 

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