PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – No. 2 seed Virginia’s (13-4) season came to a close Saturday evening (May 27) as the Cavaliers dropped a heartbreaker, 13-12, in overtime to third-seeded Notre Dame (13-2) in the NCAA Tournament semifinals at Lincoln Financial Field.
Virginia led 12-11 with just under 1:00 to play, but the Fighting Irish won the last three faceoffs of the game to ultimately force overtime and score the game-winning goal 29 seconds into the extra period.
The Cavaliers, who led the nation in ground balls entering Saturday’s contest, were outplayed on the ground, 42-30. The Irish also held an advantage at the faceoff X, winning 16 of the game’s 28 total faceoffs.
Offensively, Virginia was led by Connor Shellenberger (3g, 3a), Thomas McConvey (1g, 2a), and Patrick McIntosh (2g, 1a). Shellenberger concluded his junior campaign with 11 goals and 11 assists in three tournament contests. UVA goalie Matthew Nunes registered 17 saves to keep the Cavaliers afloat throughout and short-stick defensive midfielder Grayson Sallade recorded two caused turnovers and tied for a team-high four ground balls. Virginia also held the nation’s most efficient man-up unit scoreless on its three man-up chances.
Notre Dame’s Eric Dobson scored a game-high four goals on 11 shots and dished out on assist. At the faceoff X, Will Lynch won 13 of his 22 attempts for the Irish.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame possessed the ball significantly more than the Cavaliers in the first period and scored the first two goals of the game less than two minutes in. After the Cavaliers’ first three shots were saved by Notre Dame goalie Liam Entenmann (11 saves), McIntosh found the back of the net on a bouncing shot to get the Hoos on the board. After Sallade scored on an assist from McConvey to tie things [2-2], Shellenberger ripped his first goal of the game to put the Cavaliers up for the first time with 3:09 left in the first quarter. The Irish closed out the opening period with back-to-back goals, including one with just two seconds left on a behind-the-back assist, to cling to a 4-3 lead. Nunes recorded seven of his 17 total saves in the first.
The Cavaliers claimed three goals of the five total goals scored in quarter No. 2 as both teams were tied 6-6 at the half. Cormier’s 52nd score of the season put UVA up 5-4 early in the period before McIntosh scored his second unassisted goal minutes later. After being out-possessed in the opening period, the Cavaliers outshot Notre Dame, 13-8, in the second.
Having registered the final goal of the first half, Dobson tallied his third strike of the day less than two minutes into the third to regain the lead [8-7] for Notre Dame. Dickson’s 61st goal of the season was assisted by Shellenberger early in the third to tie the contest [8-8], which was followed by a Shellenberger shot that hit the back post and deflected off Entenmann before trickling across the goal line, which flipped the score once again. The game was tied by the Irish once more before Peter Garno’s lone score of the game off a rebound gave UVA a 9-8 lead heading into the fourth.
After missing his first three shots, Griffin Shutz (1g) found the back of the net to give Virginia its first two-goal lead of the day with 10:24 remaining in regulation. Notre Dame found the back of the net on three of the next four scores to tie the game 11-11 with 2:07 left in the period. McConvey’s goal broke yet another tied score on an assist from Shellenberger with 52 seconds left on the game clock. After the McConvey goal, the Irish won the ensuing faceoff and called timeout before tying the game 12-12 just 10 seconds after play resumed. The Irish won the final faceoff of regulation, but did not get a shot off in the final 32 seconds of the fourth, resulting in UVA’s second overtime contest of the season.
On the first and only faceoff in overtime, Lynch corralled the ground ball before the Irish signaled for time in their own offensive zone. After the timeout, UND’s Brian Tevlin fired a shot that got past Nunes just 29 seconds in to punch the Irish’s ticket to the national championship, where they will face top-seeded Duke.
- The game marked Virginia’s 25th NCAA semifinals appearance.
- The Cavaliers finished with a single-season program record of 190 total assists.
- With 17 saves, Matthew Nunes set the Virginia single season saves record (213) after surpassing Alex Rode’s 2021 record of 212 saves.
- With three goals and three assists, Connor Shellenberger finished 2023 NCAA with 11 goals and 11 assists in three tournament games.
- Shellenberger’s six points moved him to No. 2 all-time on UVA’s NCAA Tournament career points list, pass Tim Whiteley.
- With six points against Irish, Shellenberger now sits at 56 career points in NCAA Tournament games, passing Tim Whiteley for second place all-time in Virginia’s history.
- Xander Dickson (1g) concluded his career with 61 goals, the UVA single season record.
- Dickson also registered at least one goal in all 17 games this season.
- Dickson tied Michael Kraus’s 2018 83-point campaign for third best on UVA’s all-time single season points list.
- With one goal and two assists, Thomas McConvey rounded out his career having registered at least one point in all 69 career games. McConvey scored 155 goals and 71 assists to total 226 career points.
- McConvey finished the season with 28 goals and 24 assists to tie Dox Aitken’s 2019 single season points record (52) by a UVA midfielder.
- McConvey’s 24 assists shattered the previous UVA single-season assists record, which was shared by Chris Rotelli (2003) and Drew Thompson (2006).
- With one goal, Payton Cormier extended his point streak to 44 games. During his streak, Cormier has registered 133 goals and 26 assists for a total of 159 points.
- With 52 goals on the year, Cormier tied for fourth on UVA’s single-season goals list with Doug Knight (1995).