Virginia’s conference woes continued on Saturday evening as the No. 9 Hoos were unable to top the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, falling 9-7. Michael Kraus had four goals in the loss, and Dox Aitken added two. Mikey Wynne led the Irish with four of his own.
The loss drops Virginia to 6-2 overall and 0-2 in the ACC, keeping the Hoos winless in conference since 2014. Goalies Griffin Thompson and Alex Rode combined for six saves and nine goals against and only faced 25 shots.
Virginia won just 9-of-19 face offs (47%), and the Hoos turned over 15 times, including 11 in the second half.
The Hoos got off to a slow start, letting Notre Dame get out to a 4-0 start behind two goals from Wynne. Kraus responded with two goals to halve Virginia’s deficit heading into the second quarter.
The Hoos won just one of seven face offs in the first quarter, but were much smarter with the ball (mostly because they rarely had it) with only two turnovers. Griffin Thompson struggled in cage in the first quarter, notching no saves and four goals against. The Virginia defense did cause two turnovers in the first quarter.
Two more goals from Kraus knotted the two teams at four with 11:18 left in the second half, but Notre Dame’s Brendan Gleason and Bryan Costabile gave the home team a two goal advantage at the half. Virginia had a chance to tie it up at five on an extra man opportunity, but couldn’t convert.
Costabile and Wynne each had two goals in the first half for Notre Dame.
Thompson had three saves in the first half and six goals against, and ND’s Matt Schmidt had three saves and four goals against. Notre Dame won 8-of-12 face offs in the first 30 minutes, and the Hoos held a slight edge in caused turnovers (3-1) and turnovers (4-9), and were out-ground balled 19-18 by the Irish.
Virginia had a chance to cut the deficit to one with an extra man opportunity to start the second half, but couldn’t take advantage. First year Alex Rode, in cage for the second half, came up with a big stop for the Hoos, and Dox Aitken got on the board and made it 6-5 with 10:12 left in the third quarter.
Aitken scored again on a bouncer on the near post, tying the game at six with 5:54 to play in the third quarter. The Hoos took their first lead of the game at 7-6 with 2:52 to play on an extra man goal from Mike D’Amario. Aitken was called for a :30 interference call with six seconds left on the clock in the third quarter, allowing ND to hold the ball and retain possession going into the final 15 minutes, down 7-6.
The Hoos were able to kill the penalty, but a miscommunication on defense allowed Wynne to roll the crease unopposed for Notre Dame’s first goal of the second half that drew the Irish back even at seven. Notre Dame retook the lead on Wynne’s fourth goal of the game with 12:20 remaining.
Virginia had one last chance to tie it up with an EMO, but Aitken’s shot was saved by Schmidt, his seventh of the game, and Notre Dame milked the remaining 1:55 of the game. Gleason added a cushion goal with :53 remaining - an open netter - making it the fifth game decided by two goals or fewer out of the last six between the two schools.
Next up, the Hoos have a mid-week matchup with Dartmouth in Charlottesville on Tuesday.