Sept. 22, 2015
EAST LANSING, Mich. – It was all Irish early and often on Tuesday, as the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team wasted little time finding the back of the net against Michigan State. After netting the game-winning goal less than 90 seconds into the contest, the No. 14/12 Irish added three additional tallies to blank the host Spartans 4-0 on a sunny afternoon at the DeMartin Soccer Complex.
Notre Dame (5-2-1) and Michigan State (3-3-1) each finished with 12 total shots. The Irish logged seven shots on goal to the four of the Spartans, while Michigan State held a 7-2 edge in corner kicks.
“It was a very good game after two setbacks, Michigan State is a good team,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “It was an excellent response from us. Goals apart, we opened the game very well as a team. That was the important thing, how well we played. The goals are nice and you hope that they follow, but the most important thing is to play well. I thought we did that, so I was very happy with the energy.
“Not only the first group that was on, but the two younger strikers (Mark Gormley and Thomas Ueland) that came on added something,” Clark said. “We also managed to get a few other lads on as well, so it was a good performance.”
Notre Dame got off to its fast start in the game’s second minute. Jon Gallagher worked the ball down the left flank and sent a cross along toward the middle of the field in the direction of tri-captain Max Lachowecki. Lachowecki connected full extension on a diving header into the right corner of the goal at 1:12 to put the Irish quickly in front 1-0.
The goal, Lachowecki’s first since the 2013 season, was the second fastest to start a game by Notre Dame since 1995, trailing only Bob Novak and his goal 26 seconds into a match against Bucknell on Sept. 11, 2011.
Gallagher put the Irish firmly in front by two goals in the 14th minute. A solid run down the right sideline by Michael Shipp set up a tactical pass to Gallagher down the flank. Gallagher blasted a try that was saved by Spartan goalkeeper Zach Bennett, but the ball landed right back on Gallagher’s foot. The Notre Dame attacker buried the rebound inside the box for his fifth goal of the season for the 2-0 Irish advantage.
“Jon is doing well, but I think all of our strikers played well today,” Clark said. “Thomas Ueland got another goal also, which was very good, and as far as I am concerned all four of our forwards are contributing at the moment. Jon’s work rate is tremendous but so is Jeffrey Farina, he was very solid. Mark and Thomas were also very good. I would say all four were excellent today.”
Michigan State got free in the 18th minute behind the Notre Dame defense for its first official shot attempt of the match. Chris Hubbard in the Irish goal was there to stop the threat and saved a Kyle Rutz try.
Farina weaved into the 18-yard box in the 28th minute, driving a hard right-footed shot toward the far right post that Bennett dove and parried out of play.
Michigan State looked to change the run of play beginning in the 29th minute, but Hubbard stood tall and turned away a pair of Spartan attempts in the ensuing five minutes, with none of the shots posing a serious threat on frame.
“There’s no question, we’re moving along in the right direction at the back,” Clark said. “Matt Habrowski brings tremendous leadership and a calmness, and he’s left-footed, which gives us balance in the back four. He brings a nice balance to the team.”
Tri-captain Patrick Hodan nearly set up a third Irish goal in the 37th minute, as the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Offensive Player of the Year dropped a dribble through the legs two closing Michigan State defenders, starting a strong 50-yard run down the right wing. Hodan attempted a cross inside the 18-yard box to teammate Gormley out in front, but a closing Michigan State defender knocked the ball out of harm’s way.
Notre Dame put the game away just before halftime with another strong offensive surge in the 44th minute. Tri-captain Connor Klekota made an artful move with the ball working up the midfield before leaving a pass off to Ueland, who had entered 10 minutes earlier for Gallagher. Ueland received the through pass in stride and beat Bennett short side to his right, sneaking the ball inside the far post for his second goal of the year and a 3-0 Irish lead at halftime.
Shipp sent a strong cross toward the Michigan State net in the 55th minute, and as defender Brad Centala attempted to clear the ball with a diving header, the clearance instead found its way inside the right post. The Spartan own goal at 54:21 put Notre Dame in front 4-0.
Hodan looked to add to the lead with a strong run up the middle of the field in the 70th minute, but a challenging right-footed blast on the run carried wide of the left post and out of play for a Michigan State goal kick.
Notre Dame returns home to host perennial ACC contender Virginia on Friday at 7 p.m. (ET) inside Alumni Stadium. The league match will be available on ESPN3.
Friday’s contest will be a matchup of the two most recent NCAA champions, with Notre Dame winning its first College Cup in 2013 before Virginia claimed the hardware in 2014.
“We can enjoy this game tonight, then tomorrow we will look back at this game so that Thursday we gear up for Virginia,” Clark said. “In some ways when you lose it’s good that another game comes up fast, and when you win you don’t have time to sit back and gloat for very long. You have to get on with things.”
Sept. 22, 2015
No. 14/12 Notre Dame 4, Michigan State 0
DeMartin Soccer Complex (East Lansing, Mich.)
No. 14/12 Notre Dame 3 1 — 4
Michigan State 0 0 — 0
Shots: MSU 12 (8-4), ND 12 (8-4)
Shots on goal: MSU 4 (3-1), ND 7 (5-2)
Saves: MSU 3 (Zach Bennett 3 in 90:00), ND 4 (Chris Hubbard 4 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: MSU 7 (1-6), ND 2 (0-2)
Fouls: MSU 5, ND 6
Offsides: MSU 1, ND 0
Yellow Cards: Zach Carroll (MSU) 37:37; Dewey Lewis (MSU) 79:34
— Tony Jones, Athletics Communications Assistant