Virginia's time as the No. 2 ranked team in the nation might be short-lived. UVA women's soccer suffered its first loss of the season, falling to No. 18 Notre Dame 1-0 on Thursday night in South Bend.
It was a frustrating night from start to finish for the Cavaliers, who managed only one shot on goal in the entire match and were outshot 15-9 overall by the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame placed eight of its 15 shots on goal and UVA goalkeeper Cayla White saved all but one of them.
After the first 75 minutes of the match transpired with no goals scored, Notre Dame netted the game winner off of a corner kick. The service ball went into the box and hit a couple of bodies before coming right to the foot of Maddie Mercado, who swept it easily into the back of the net from point-blank range to give the Fighting Irish the lead.
UVA tried desperately to find an equalizer to salvage the draw in the remaining minutes, but was unable to put together many threatening score opportunities. Haley Hopkins placed Virginia's first and only shot on goal in the 78th minute, but Notre Dame goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood made the save.
The Fighting Irish continued to own the possession battle and even put some offensive pressure on the Cavaliers in the waning minutes of the match. Simply put, UVA did not put its best effort on the field on Thursday night, perhaps not focusing as much as they did when they pulled off their historic comeback at North Carolina last weekend.
Whatever the reason, Virginia did not play well enough to beat a good Fighting Irish team on their home turf and the outcome was UVA's first loss of the season.
Virginia, now 8-1-1 on the season, will look to bounce back at home against Louisville on Sunday at 2pm.