Sept. 15, 2016
by Tony Jones
2016 NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER – Match 7
#1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-0-0, 1-0-0 ACC) vs. Louisville Cardinals (4-1-1, 1-0-0 ACC)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Returning to Louisville for the first time since the 2012 season, the No. 1 University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team looks to stay unbeaten in a Friday night Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) showdown with the Cardinals at Lynn Stadium. The 7 p.m. (ET) match at the state of the art facility will air live on ACC Network Extra.
Notre Dame (6-0-0, 1-0-0 ACC) has staked its claim to the top spot in the Coastal Division of the ACC after a 4-1 win over No 15 Virginia Tech on Sept. 9. Making their first appearance at Lynn Stadium, which opened in 2014, the Irish are in search of their first victory at Louisville (4-1-1, 1-0-0 ACC) since blanking the Cardinals 2-0 on Sept. 15, 2006 in BIG EAST Conference play.
“Louisville has hit a very good patch of form,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “There will be a huge crowd I would imagine, they’ve got a beautiful new stadium. It’s the first time we’ve played in their new stadium and it’s arguably one of the nicest stadiums in college soccer. It will be fun for the team to play there against a really good opponent, and of course it will be fun for Chris Hubbard (Trinity) going back to Louisville, our goalkeeper. That will be a fun but tough game, every game in the ACC is difficult.”
Season and 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 Remain Undefeated Thanks To Gallagher Golden Goal Vs. UConn
Junior striker Jon Gallagher found the back of the net in the 103rd minute after a back and forth affair with UConn to lift No. 1 Notre Dame to a 1-0 nonconference win on Sept. 13 at Alumni Stadium.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã…Â¡Â½️#1 @NDMenSoccer continues its undefeated season with the golden goal in 2nd OT vs UConn.
TAKE A LOOK! pic.twitter.com/ZwCucdQsOL
– The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) September 14, 2016
Notre Dame outshot UConn 18-8 on the night, including a 12-2 edge in the second half and overtime periods. The Irish have now earned a result in five of their past six matches against the Huskies since 2009.
After both teams jockeyed for position in the opening 12 plus minutes of overtime, Notre Dame center back and reigning Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Offensive Player of the Week Brandon Aubrey sent a looping pass ahead down the right wing to the speedy Gallagher. Gallagher artfully dribbled inside the UConn 18-yard box and sent a shot at Huskies goalkeeper Scott Levene, who mishandled the spinning try and allowed the match-winning goal to beat him five-hole at 102:14.
Finding A Way To Win
Notre Dame’s 1-0 win over UConn was the third one-goal victory by the Irish during the team’s 6-0 start to the 2016 season. Notre Dame previously downed New Mexico 1-0 on Aug. 28 at Alumni Stadium and No. 15 Stanford 2-1 in the second overtime period on Sept. 2 in Bloomington.
In its other three wins, Notre Dame has outscored its opposition by a combined 13-2 goal margin.
Aubrey, ACC Offensive POTW
The Notre Dame back line has yielded two goals on 70 opposing shots in six starts during Notre Dame’s perfect start to the 2016 season. One of the key components of the strong defensive play, center back Brandon Aubrey, the reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Week.
Before earning the game-winning assist against UConn on Sept. 13, Aubrey logged his first collegiate hat trick in a 4-1 win over No. 15 Virginia Tech on Sept. 9, tallying the final three Notre Dame goals. Aubrey was successful on his third penalty kick attempt of the season at 15:09, drove home a header off a tri-captain Evan Panken free kick at 77:29 and blasted home a free kick of his own at 82:27 for the first Notre Dame hat trick since Ryan Finley scored three goals against Providence on Oct. 20, 2012.
Aubrey is the ACC leader with six goals over his first six starts, placing in the top five among all Division I players in the NCAA. Aubrey also paces the ACC in points (13), points per game (2.17) and goals per game (1.00) as of the most recent conference statistics report on Sept. 12.
Hubbard Stonewalling Opposition
Goalkeeper Chris Hubbard earned his fourth shutout of 2016 by stopping a single shot against UConn on Sept. 13. Hubbard has made 16 of his 23 total saves in his four clean sheets this season, including a career-high eight stops in a 5-0 win against No. 22 California on Sept. 4.
Hubbard also logged his second career collegiate assist by finding dynamic striker Jon Gallagher alone behind the Cal defense with a bounding goal kick in the 13th minute. Gallagher finished the breakaway pass for his fourth goal in four matches at 12:57, with Hubbard receiving credit for the primary point with the lead pass in the victory over the Golden Bears.
Hubbard (2) and Bert Bader (’94, 5) are believed to be the only Notre Dame goalkeepers with two or more career helpers in the program’s 40-year history.
Townes Active On Irish Offense
Following a corner kick clearance by Virginia Tech on Sept. 9 in the 13th minute, midfielder Blake Townes settled the ball just over 20 yards from the Notre Dame goal. Townes ripped a strike from 23 yards underneath the right post and crossbar for his first career goal and a 1-0 Notre Dame lead.
Townes’ first collegiate goal came in his 27th career Notre Dame game, on just his third official shot on goal. Townes became the 10th active Irish player (sixth of 2016) to score at least one career goal at Notre Dame. The Irish midfielder has attempted four of his five total shots this season over his last three starts.
Louisville enters Friday’s game with a 4-1-1 record (1-0-0 ACC) after downing Xavier 2-0 on Sept. 13. The Cardinals blanked Pittsburgh by a matching 2-0 score in their ACC opener on Sept. 9.
Mohamed Thiaw leads Louisville with three goals over his first three starts, including one game-winner. Tate Schmitt has chipped in two goals, while Tim Kubel has notched a pair of assists to pace the Cardinals. Goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland has made 11 total saves in four solo shutouts.
Head coach Ken Lolla has led Louisville to a 121-65-30 (.629) record in 11 seasons with the Cardinals. Lolla has guided Louisville to eight NCAA tournament appearances, including a runner-up finish at the 2010 College Cup.
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.