Oct. 10, 2016
by Tony Jones
2016 NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER – Match 12
#1/2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-1-1) vs. Michigan Wolverines (2-6-4)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team is set to embark on a season-long four-game road trip, opening the swing away from home on Tuesday against Michigan. The 7 p.m. (ET) showdown in Ann Arbor will air on BTN Plus from the U-M Soccer Stadium.
No. 1/2 Notre Dame (9-1-1) extended its current unbeaten streak to four matches following a 1-0-1 week that included a 4-0 shutout of No. 6 Indiana on Oct. 4 and a 2-2 draw against No. 11 Wake Forest on Oct. 11 at Alumni Stadium. The Irish are now a combined 5-0-1 against fellow top 25 foes thus far in 2016.
Michigan (2-6-4) looks to ride its own unblemished streak after logging a 2-0-1 record in its last three outings. The Wolverines and Notre Dame finished in a 1-1 deadlock in the last meeting between the teams on Oct. 7, 2015 at Alumni Stadium. The Irish lead the all-time series 10-2-3 (.767).
Single game tickets for the 2016 Notre Dame men’s soccer season remain on sale. Visit und.com/BuyTickets or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356 for more information or to purchase tickets.
Irish, Wake Battle To First Tie Of ’16
A hard-fought Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) home match saw Notre Dame and Wake Forest battle for position throughout a tightly contested Saturday night contest. In the end, the Irish and Demon Deacons fought to a 2-2 conference draw under the lights at Alumni Stadium.
No. 1/2 Notre Dame remained unbeaten at Alumni Stadium in seven starts this season, emerging at 6-0-1 following the tie. Both teams erased one-goal deficits during the match to claim the first conference draws on the ledger for both sides in 2016.
Harris’ Offensive Week Continues
In his 35th career appearance (30th start) at Notre Dame, Oliver Harris selected an opportune time to connect on his first career collegiate goal. A mainstay as a holding midfielder for the Irish over the past two seasons, Harris needed less than 13 minutes to dash the hopes of No. 6 Indiana by tallying the game-winning goal in the 4-0 Notre Dame shutout.
A through ball from ACC leading scorer Jon Gallagher to Blake Townes allowed Townes to feather a great pass out front to midfield mate Harris, who drilled a header into the right corner for the 1-0 Irish lead at 12:42.
Harris stayed active in the Notre Dame offense later in the week against No. 11 Wake Forest in conference play. A failed Demon Deacon clearance was headed upfield by Harris to a cutting Mark Gormley, who notched his second goal of 2016 to tie the contest at 1-1 in the 39th minute.
Gallagher Remains Atop ACC Points Chart
As of the most recent ACC statistics update on Oct. 10, Notre Dame’s Jon Gallagher has staked his claim to the conference lead in both goals and points after the first 11 Irish matches of 2016.
Gallagher cemented his place in the top slot in goals among all ACC players with his second straight multi-goal game, scoring in the 23rd and 24th minutes in the win over Indiana on Oct 4. Adding one assist versus the Hoosiers for solo third on the Irish with four assists this season, Gallagher also paces the ACC with 24 points (10 goals, four assists) entering play at Michigan on Tuesday.
Teammate Brandon Aubrey is fourth overall in points with 17 (eight goals, one assist) to lead all ACC defenders.
Panken’s Distributing Ways
Tri-captain Evan Panken has emerged as one of Notre Dame’s most reliable assists catalysts over his past four years in an Irish uniform. The active Notre Dame leader with 21 career helpers (five assists in 2016), Panken has had a knack for finding teammates with three primary assists over his last four starts.
Panken began the surge against No. 2 Syracuse on Sept. 23, lacing a perfect free kick in front to a cutting Jack Casey for Casey’s first career goal. Panken then connected on a corner kick to Brandon Aubrey for the fourth Notre Dame goal of a 4-0 clean sheet over No. 6 Indiana on Oct. 4. Panken completed the stretch by finding Aubrey in space on the run for a diving header off a free kick that wound up being the tying goal in a 2-2 draw against No. 11 Wake Forest on Oct. 8.
ACC Soccer Continues To Dominate
Notre Dame was one of seven ACC teams included in last week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) top 25 poll that was released on Oct. 4. The seven ACC teams included in the current NSCAA rankings lead all conferences in terms of ranked members.
The ACC is a combined 56-14-6 (.776) in nonconference play to pace Division I soccer as of Oct. 7. Notre Dame (Sept. 6 and Sept. 13) and North Carolina (Aug. 30) have previously been the top team in the NSCAA rankings during different weeks of 2016. The Irish are currently the national number one team in two other polls (College Soccer News and TopDrawerSoccer) entering this week’s matches.
Michigan enters Tuesday’s match with a 2-6-4 mark thus far in 2016, and is unbeaten in its last three starts following wins over Detroit (2-0 on Sept. 28) and Penn State (2-0 on Oct. 2) and a 1-1 draw at Rutgers on Oct. 7.
Francis Atuahene leads all Michigan strikers with four goals and nine points through 10 games this season, attempting a team-high 22 shots on goal. Jack Hallahan has chipped in three goals for the Wolverines, while Rylee Woods has added a team-best three assists.
Chaka Daley is 35-38-15 (.483) in his fifth season at the helm in Ann Arbor, and led the Wolverines to the NCAA tournament in 2012.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.