The UVA men’s soccer team (5-4-1) opened up spring ACC play with a hard fought win at home against Notre Dame (6-5).
The Cavaliers and Fighting Irish found themselves in an extremely chippy meeting this Sunday in a rematch that UVA was hungry to win after falling to Notre Dame 2-1 in double overtime last October. Both teams emerged from regulation scoreless, sending the game into overtime yet again, but this time, the story would end differently for the Hoos.
In the first half of the game, the offense struggled to find a footing, with multiple substitutions being made to see if a certain offensive lineup would punch a goal through. But while the offense was hurting, the Virginia defense played phenomenally. Irakoze Donasiyano, who was recently drafted by Nashville’s MLS team, has adapted to his new right-wing-back position extremely well after spending the entirety of his collegiate career in the midfield. Donasiyano made key blocks and clears in front of goal throughout the game, his most notable being a slide tackle just feet from the goal line as a Notre Dame striker lined up for a shot in the 27th minute.
It was not until overtime that a player on either side could find the back of the net. In the 94th minute of the match, a Notre Dame midfielder committed a hard foul against the Cavaliers, setting up a perfect opportunity for a ball into the box or a shot from distance. UVA’s set-piece-specialist Jeremy Verley chose the latter. The sophomore took the entire Notre Dame defense off-guard, freezing players in the box and the keeper in his place as his shot dipped into the bottom left of the net.
Verley’s golden goal will add to UVA’s building momentum as they travel to Chapel Hill to face off against the Tar Heels in their first matchup of the year on March, 13th at 7 pm.