The fourth-ranked UVA women’s soccer team recorded its first ranked win of the season, downing No. 10 Notre Dame 2-1Sunday afternoon at Alumni Stadium. Junior Brittany Ratcliffe (Williamstown, N.J.) scored the game winner with 20 seconds remaining as the Cavaliers improved to 11-1 overall and 3-1 in the ACC. The Fighting Irish fell to 7-4-1 overall and 2-2 in the conference with the loss.
Senior midfielder Morgan Brian (St. Simons Island, Ga.) also scored for the Cavaliers, while junior Makenzy Doniak (Chino Hills, Calif.) added an assist.
“I am really proud of the team,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “A lot of teams may have buckled in that situation, on the road, playing well and then you lose the lead in the final six minutes. We played some good soccer, especially at the end. The buildup to the final goal was fantastic. It was a good test of our resilience and hopefully we can build upon it Thursday when we have another tough game.”
Virginia had a strong wind at its back in the first half and dominated possession throughout. The Cavaliers outshot the Irish 11-3 over the first 45 minutes, but the teams went to the break scoreless.
The Cavaliers took the lead in the 53rd minute as Brian intercepted a pass in the midfield, dribbled into the box where she made a move to beat two defenders before firing a shot into the upper corner for her fourth goal of the season. The Fighting Irish drew even in the 84th minute as Cari Roccaro fired a shot from 30 yards that was placed just inside the far post for her first goal of the season.
The game was heading to overtime in the final minute until Ratcliffe scored the game-winner in the closing seconds. Sophomore Morgan Reuther (Chantilly, Va.) threaded a ball that found a run into the box by Doniak. Notre Dame keeper Kaela Little saved Doniak’s shot, but the rebound fell right to Ratcliffe, who tapped in her sixth goal of the season to give Virginia the win.
Overall, Virginia outshot Notre Dame 19-6 and had a 10-2 corner kick advantage. Sophomore Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas) made three saves in goal for the Cavaliers, while Little made nine at the other end for the Fighting Irish.
The Cavaliers will return home Thursday to host Boston College. Game time at Klöckner Stadium is 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on the ACC Regional Sports Networks (Comcast-Mid Atlantic Plus in Virginia).