Virginia overcame a two-goal deficit in the final five minutes of a wild regulation and then conquered top-ranked Notre Dame in a penalty kick tiebreaker Friday night to advance to the ACC men’s soccer tournament final.
Sophomore Marcus Salandy-Defour (Georgetown Prep) scored in the 85th minute and freshman Nicko Corriveau (Gonzaga) struck two minutes later to forge a 3-3 draw at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds.
Following 20 minutes of overtime, junior Calle Brown (Loudoun County High) stopped two shots and Salandy-Defour converted the clinching penalty for a 4-3 margin in the five-round session.
In Sunday’s 2 p.m. final, the sixth-seeded Cavaliers (10-4-5) will face top-seeded Maryland (12-3-5), which defeated fourth seed Clemson, 1-0, on freshman Michael Sauers’s goal in the 10th minute of sudden-death overtime.
“It seemed like the soccer gods had this one figured out — Maryland-Virginia in the final,” Terrapins Coach Sasho Cirovski said.
Virginia was the only team to defeat second-seeded Notre Dame (12-1-6) in the regular season. (Games decided on penalty kicks are officially ties.) This time, the Cavaliers found themselves trailing by two goals at halftime and 3-1 after Andrew O’Malley’s finish in the 81st minute.
But Salandy-Defour smashed his third goal of the year from the top of the penalty area before setting up Corriveau for an angled, rising shot into the top near corner for his first of the season.
“That was, in my 18 years, probably one of the best fight-backs that I’ve had with the team,” Virginia Coach George Gelnovatch said.
“It was pretty loud in the locker room at halftime. There were some challenges put to the team – some real hard challenges.”
In the tiebreaker, Brown thwarted Connor Klekota and Patrick Hodan in the second and third rounds, respectively.
“I was reading the hips,” Brown said, referring to the subtle turn by Irish players as they prepared to shoot. He went to his left on the first save, his right on the second.
Notre Dame not only had taken a 2-0 lead on goals by Harrison Shipp in the 21st minute and Hodan in the 45th, but was awarded a penalty kick in the 53rd. Shipp hit the left post, and a game on the brink of unraveling turned in Virginia’s favor.
Four minutes later, Salandy-Defour was taken down in the box and Todd Wharton converted the penalty.
With a lifeline, Virginia hoarded possession and played with energy. Against the run of play, however, Notre Dame expanded the lead on O’Malley’s goal.
Virginia was not done and headed to overtime for the eighth time in 11 matches. “We had to keep going, keep fighting,” Salandy-Defour said. “And that is what we do. When we are behind, we never get down.”
In a rugged second game, Clemson’s Andrew Tarbell and Maryland’s Zack Steffen made a terrific save apiece before Sauers took advantage of a scramble in the box and slotted an eight-yard shot into the lower right corner.
Maryland and Virginia played to a 3-3 draw in the regular season, with all the scoring in the first 27 minutes. “If there are six goals in the first  minutes this time,” Cirovski said, he and Gelnovatch “will probably need one of those heart machines on the sideline.”
●BIG EAST: Fourth-seeded Providence upset top-seeded Georgetown on penalty kicks 5-4 after a 0-0 semifinal draw at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. The Hoyas (13-4-2) will await an at-large berth when the NCAA tournament field is announced Monday.
● ●PATRIOT LEAGUE: In Annapolis, senior Dave Arnold scored in the 58th minute on freshman Sam Bascom’s cross as Navy defeated Bucknell, 1-0, for its 13th consecutive victory and a berth in Sunday’s final. Seeking their first NCAA tournament berth in 25 years, the top-seeded Midshipmen (14-3-2) will play third-seeded Holy Cross. Navy has not lost since Sept. 17.
●ATLANTIC 10: In Dayton, Ohio, Sterling native Timi Mulgrew scored on a header 34 seconds into sudden-death overtime to lift George Mason over Virginia Commonwealth, 3-2. The second-seeded Patriots (11-2-5) stretched their unbeaten streak to 11 and advanced to Sunday’s final against top-seeded Saint Louis, which defeated La Salle, 2-1.
●NCAA WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT: In Charlottesville, Makenzy Doniak recorded a hat trick as top-ranked Virginia routed St. Francis (Pa.), 5-0, in a first-round match. Brittany Ratcliffe and Morgan Brian also scored for the Cavaliers (21-1-0), who will host Georgetown or La Salle next Friday.. . .
In Blacksburg, Shannon Mayrose scored in the 40th minute and Ashley Manning in the 61st as fourth-ranked Virginia Tech defeated UMBC, 2-0, and set a program record for victories. The Hokies (17-4-2) will host Rutgers or West Virginia next Friday.