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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Irish book trip to NCAA quarterfinals on last-second goal

Ninety-nine minutes, 59 seconds. One second shy of hitting triple-digit-minutes and the end of the first overtime, No. 7 Notre Dame headed in a game-winning goal against No. 10 Virginia and found its way into the NCAA quarterfinals.

Connery McFadden | The Observer
Irish freshman forward Jack Lynn dribbles the ball during Notre Dame's 2-1 overtime loss to Indiana on Sep. 11 at Alumni Stadium. Lynn scored the game-winning goal against the Cavaliers on Sunday.

The Irish (11-6-3, 4-3-1 ACC) were coming off a win against Michigan that went into a 12-round penalty shootout. The Cavaliers (10-4-3, 3-2-2) were coming off a 2-0 win against Furman. With temperatures hovering in the low 40s, both teams looked to square off for the first time this season after their earlier matchup on Sept. 14 was postponed due to inclement weather.

The match kicked off Sunday afternoon in Alumni Stadium. Eight minutes into the first half, senior forward Sean MacLeod delivered a cross to junior midfielder Jack Casey. Although Casey had an uncontested look at the goal, his header went over the bar.

Virginia senior forward Simeon Okoro tested Irish junior goalkeeper Duncan Turnbull in the 18th minute of the game with a long-distance shot that was controlled by Turnbull. Seven minutes later, Cavalier senior forward Prosper Figbe connected a header off a corner kick, but Turnbull once again corralled the save.

In the 52nd minute, a Notre Dame corner went into the box and ricocheted off several players before it was finally handled by Virginia junior goalkeeper Marcel DaSilva.

In the last 15 minutes of regulation, the Irish got several chances at breaking the tie. Casey cut into the box, but was just inches from connecting with a low cross. A few minutes later, freshman midfielder Mohamed Omar got a header off an Irish free kick, but the shot went straight to the hands of DaSilva. Omar would miss again a few plays later. Senior defender Felicien Dumas kicked a corner into the heart of the box, but Omar miscalculated the cross and missed a golden opportunity in front of goal, his shot going over the bar.

In overtime, Dumas took a free kick from a few yards past the box, but his shot missed just wide. With two minutes left in the first overtime period, Cavaliers sophomore midfielder Joe Bell sent a long strike on goal that Turnbull tipped away, keeping the Irish alive.

As the pressure of a golden goal overtime continued to rise, both teams seemed to be headed to a second overtime. Suddenly however, the luck of the Irish happened.

Four seconds left.

Junior midfielder Tommy McCabe sent in a cross hoping that one of his two awaiting teammates could produce something.

Three seconds left.

The 376 fans that bought a ticket to the game awaited as McCabe’s cross hung in the air. A 6-foot-2 freshman forward from St. Louis got in position for a header.

Two seconds left.

The freshman, Jack Lynn, beat his defender to the cross and rose up for a header. DaSilva, in a highlighter yellow jersey, took two steps to his right and dove.

One second left.

Lynn’s shot found the back of the net. The crowd erupted as the Irish dog-piled on Lynn in the corner of the field.

“We had a couple of games where it ended in [overtime], earlier in the year, that went the wrong way. It’s nice to get on the good side,” Lynn said, referring to four overtime games in which the Irish were unable to pull out a victory.

One of those overtime games was against No. 2 Indiana, who won in Alumni Stadium back in September in a 2-1 overtime win. The Hoosiers (19-2-1, 8-0-0 Big Ten) will be Notre Dame’s next opponent, as the Irish will travel to Indianapolis to avenge their loss earlier in the season and try to advance to the College Cup.