NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- A seven-goal second quarter and a nine-goal fourth quarter put No. 12 Notre Dame well on its way to an 18-9 victory against No. 6 Virginia on Sunday. The win moved the Fighting Irish to 2-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and placed them in a tie with Maryland for first place in the league.
Notre Dame (3-2, 2-0) used 11 different goal scorers in the win and the offense was spearheaded by a four-goal, two-assist effort from sophomore attackman Matt Kavanagh, while junior midfielder Nick Ossello chipped in with his first career hat trick. Not only did senior Liam O'Connor go 19-for-24 in faceoffs, he tallied a goal and an assist.
"So much of it tonight was the faceoff game," said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. "When you're playing make-it, take-it like that and not only winning the faceoffs, but putting pressure on them, that's tough."
Virginia (6-2, 1-1) struck first in the contest on a Zed Williams tally at the 11:38 mark of the first quarter, but Notre Dame would score eight of the game's next nine goals. The Irish didn't net their first goal until seven seconds remained in the opening period when freshman midfielder Sergio Perkovic found the back of the net.
The Fighting Irish took the lead for good with just over 11 minutes left in the second quarter on a goal from midfielder Trevor Brosco. O'Connor won the ensuing faceoff, took the ball through the Cavalier defense and scored to make it 3-1. Following a man-up goal from Virginia's Mark Cockerton, Notre Dame registered five consecutive scores in a span of 2:20. The surge began on an Ossello goal with 8:25 left in the first half and then Kavanagh gave the Irish a three-goal lead (5-2). Ossello and Kavanagh scored the next two goals of the uprising before midfielder Tyler Brenneman finished things off.
Virginia's Ryan Tucker scored with 15 seconds left in the half to make it an 8-3 contest at the intermission. The Cavaliers netted the first two goals of the second stanza to slice the Irish lead to three with 8:34 remaining in the third quarter. A man-up goal from Notre Dame's John Scioscia was followed by a Cavalier deposit from Greg Coholan and the Irish took a 9-6 advantage into the final period.
Goals from Scioscia and attackman Conor Doyle, who had a career-high three assists, 15 seconds apart put the Irish up by five (11-6) in the early stages of the fourth quarter. Virginia's Tyler German trimmed the lead back to four, but another Irish run put the game out of reach. This outburst saw the Fighting Irish net four unanswered goals in a span of 1:11. Ossello started it once again and then Perkovic scored before back-to-back tallies from Kavanagh made it 15-7 with just over seven minutes left to play. After a goal from Tucker, Pat Cotter, Cole Riccardi and Jack Doyle scored Notre Dame's final three goals of the game.
"Any time you play that well against a team that good it's a confidence boost," said Corrigan. "The reality is that you look at our schedule and if we play well, we're going to have a chance to win and if we play poorly, we're going to have a good chance to lose. We just have to keep concentrating on the next day and keep getting better. It's great to have a day like today, but at the end of the year it's one win and an 8-7 loss to Penn State is one loss and we have to keep both in the right perspective."
Virginia, who was making its first appearance at Notre Dame, entered the contest averaging nearly 14 goals per game this season. Cavalier attackman James Pannell had scored 24 goals this season prior to today's game and the Fighting Irish defense held him without a point.
Notre Dame freshman goalie Shane Doss made nine saves to earn his second victory of the campaign. The Fighting Irish outshot the Cavaliers 40-26 and Virginia goalie Matt Barrett had 10 stops. Notre Dame converted on both of its man-up chances, while Virginia was 1-of-5.
"I thought he (Doss) let a couple in today, but he stole a bunch and he was really, really good," said Corrigan. "Our defense was very solid. Steve O'Hara is just a stud. He is a guy that we don't have to slide to when he's on the ball. If you can have a couple guys like that, it makes it a whole lot easier to play team defense. He's playing at a very, very high level."