Virginia pulls off one of its greatest comebacks

[ACC: Men] Virginia rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 down to tie No. 1 Notre Dame 3-3 on a pair of goals in the last five minutes of regulation and beat the Fighting Irish, 4-3, in a shootout to advance to the ACC final Sunday against defending champion Maryland, a 1-0 winner over Clemson in overtime.

UVa, which had handed Notre Dame (11-1-6)  its only loss of the season early in the year, is seeking its 11th ACC championship and will play for the title for the first time since 2009.

The Cavaliers trailed 3-1 following Andrew O’Malley’s 81st-minute goal before rallying with goals in the 85th minute from sophomore Marcus Salandy-Defour and 87th minute from freshman Nicko Corriveau. The teams played through two scoreless overtime periods before heading to the shootout, where Virginia keeper Calle Brown stopped two of five shots he faced.

“In my 18 years," Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said, "I think that was one of the best fight backs that we’ve had. I certainly challenged them at halftime and the responses were good. The way we played them in the second half is the way we played them from the start last time [2-0 UVa win]. We were just a little funky to start with. Notre Dame’s a good team. We were fortunate enough to get ourselves going in the second half and finish with advancement.”

Notre Dame took a 2-0 lead into halftime on goals by Harrison Shipp, the 2013 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, and Patrick Hodan. The Irish could have put the game away in the 53rd minute, but Shipp's penalty kick clanged off the left post.

Virginia was awarded a penalty of its own four minutes later and Todd Wharton buried the spot kick.

Michael Sauers scored a goal with just 13 seconds left in the first overtime period to lift top-seeded Maryland past Clemson in front of 3,352 fans at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

The Terrapins (12-3-5) and Tigers (11-6-2) played an even match largely devoid of solid chances until the overtime winner.

“Clemson is a great team and for sure they are an NCAA tournament team, I was extremely proud of our overall commitment to defending,” Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski said. “There was a lot at stake. This is a very important tournament to us in a very special setting and we are delighted we get a chance to play on Sunday.”
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