Nov. 23, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The top-seeded University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team prevailed over Ohio State, 2-1, in a soggy slugfest in Sunday’s NCAA Championship second-round match at Alumni Stadium.
Freshman forward Jon Gallagher tallied the winning goal in the 69th minute of the match, which was played in a steady rain throughout. Sophomore central defender Brandon Aubrey gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute when he converted a penalty kick. Ohio State’s Danny Jensen netted the equalizer in the 34th minute.
Notre Dame (12-4-4) will play host to Atlantic Coast Conference rival Virginia, the No. 16 seed, next Sunday in the round of 16. It will be the third meeting of the season between the Irish and Cavaliers, who topped UNC Wilmington 3-1 on Sunday.
Fighting Irish goalkeeper Patrick Wall stopped five Buckeye shots on the night. The fifth-year senior was tested early with attempts from Ohio State’s Liam Doyle in the sixth minute and Zach Mason in the 10th minute.
Notre Dame’s first shot of the match came off the foot of Patrick Hodan in the 23rd minute. Buckeye goalkeeper Alex Ivanov, who had three saves, tipped the attempt away to keep the match scoreless.
In the 30th minute, Irish forward Vince Cicciarelli charged his way into the penalty box and was taken down by Ohio State’s Kyle Culbertson, who was issued a yellow card. Aubrey buried the penalty kick for his third goal of the season.
The Fighting Irish weren’t able to enjoy the lead for long as the Buckeyes equalized less than four minutes later. Wall made a spectacular save when he tipped a Yianni Sarris free kick over the crossbar, but Ohio State scored off the ensuing corner kick. Hunter Robertson sent the ball into the box and Doyle flicked it to Jensen who knotted the match.
“It wasn’t the rain itself, but the field was starting to flood,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “We like to play a passing game and it didn’t really suit us because the ball kept getting stuck in the water. I think we adjusted to that in the second half. We got the game into their half and tried to play from there.
“In the first half I think we were trying to play our way into their half and we were causing ourselves quite a lot of problems. To be fair, Ohio State did a really good job. We really just copied what they were doing. They got the ball into our half and played the game and they were very good. They had a terrific first half and I thought we got back into the game in the second half.”
Ohio State (9-8-5) threatened in the opening minutes of the second half when Sarris sent a close-range header on frame, but Wall was there to snatch it out of the air. Minutes later, Sarris placed a diving shot from the right side of the penalty box just wide of the far post.
The Fighting Irish capitalized on their first good opportunity of the second stanza. Freshman forward Jeffrey Farina played the ball ahead to his classmate and Gallagher drilled his 16-yard attempt into the lower left corner of the netting. Both Farina and Gallagher were halftime substitutions. All three of Gallagher’s goals this season have been assisted by Farina.
“Jeffrey Farina did a fantastic job of holding the ball up,” Clark said. “They (Farina and Gallagher) have formed a tremendous partnership and he (Farina) played a great ball through to Jon. Jon is so quick and he just slid it into the corner. It was a terrific goal.”
Hodan nearly pushed the Irish advantage to two in the 83rd minute as he weaved his way around the Buckeye defense inside the penalty box, but placed his shot just wide of the far post. Ohio State held a 12-10 edge in shots and the Buckeyes also had five more corner kicks (9-4) than Notre Dame.
Notre Dame and Virginia tied 1-1 in the regular-season clash in Charlottesville, Va., while the Irish bested the Cavaliers 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament at Alumni Stadium. Next Sunday’s match is slated for 7 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Stadium. The Fighting Irish have a season-best six-game unbeaten streak and they are 7-1-2 in their last 10 matches.
NCAA Championship Second Round
Nov. 23, 2014
Alumni Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.
Ohio State (9-8-5) 1 0 – 1
#1 Notre Dame (12-4-4) 1 1 – 2
— Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director