Sept. 18, 2017 by Tony Jones
2017 NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER – Match 6
#2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-0-0) vs. #19 Bowling Green Falcons (5-2-0)
(RANKINGS AS OF SEPTEMBER 18)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A brief two-game homestand for the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team will conclude with a nonconference showdown on Tuesday. Firmly entrenched among the national top five, the Irish welcome Bowling Green for a 7 p.m. (ET) contest that will air live on ACC Network Extra.
Notre Dame (5-0-0) remained unbeaten during the 2017 season with a 3-0 shutout of NC State on Sept. 15. The Irish have allowed a single goal in conference play during their 2-0 league start, outscoring opposition by a 6-1 aggregate goal count.
Bowling Green (5-2-0) returns to the Notre Dame campus for the first time since the 1994 season. The Falcons and Irish last played on Oct. 16, 1994, a 3-1 Notre Dame win at old Alumni Field.
Irish Move To 2-0 In The ACC
Set pieces were the path to victory for Notre Dame on Sept. 15. Conversions of corner kicks by Matt Habrowski and Patrick Berneski, along with a beautiful finish in the run of play just before halftime by Jon Gallagher, carried the night for the No. 2 Irish in a 3-0 win over NC State in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) action at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame improved to 2-1-1 in its all-time series with NC State, beating the Wolfpack in their inaugural trip to Alumni Stadium. The teams had never previously met on the Notre Dame campus.
Dumas Named ACC DPOTW
On the strength of two primary assists and playing a key role in a team shutout, Notre Dame junior defender Felicien Dumas has been named the ACC Defensive Player of the Week. Dumas earned his first career weekly conference honor, and is the second straight Notre Dame player to be recognized by the ACC after Jon Gallagher was tabbed as last week’s top offensive player.
Dumas leads all ACC defenders with five assists (seventh in the NCAA) in five starts this season, and is tied for the national lead in assists per game at one per appearance. The junior left back has notched at least one point in four of the first five Notre Dame games. The Irish not only lead the ACC with three shutouts, a 0.39 goals-against average and a .857 save percentage, Notre Dame has conceded the fewest shots on goal (14) in the conference through five games with Dumas in the starting XI to rank in the top five of all teams in NCAA Division I men’s soccer in that statistic.
Getting Defensively Offensive
The first two Notre Dame goals of its 3-0 win over NC State on Sept. 15 featured only defenders taking part in the scoring effort. ACC Defensive Player of the Week Felicien Dumas picked up a pair of assists, and center backs Matt Habrowski and Patrick Berneski opened their 2017 goal accounts in the victory over the Wolfpack.
In the 31st minute against NC State, Dumas dropped a left-footed service neatly into the box for a charging Habrowski. Habrowski’s header into the back of the net gave the fifth-year senior tri-captain his first goal of 2017, and the Irish a 1-0 lead, at 30:15. Less than 10 minutes later, Notre Dame would strike again from the near corner flag on an almost identical play. Habrowski dummied another pinpoint service from Dumas that Berneski met squarely with a header, driving the ball into the left corner of the goal. Berneski’s second career goal made it 2-0 Irish at 38:25.
Notre Dame defenders have accounted for a total of 13 of 35 points (three goals, seven assists) through the first five Irish games on the offensive end. Dumas’ five assists are already tied for the most by a primary Notre Dame defender (Luke Mishu, 2014; Max Lachowecki, 2015) in any season since 2003.
Quality Of ND Chances Abundant
Despite virtually all teams having at least one game, and some as many as two games in-hand as of Sept. 18, Notre Dame has continued to build toward the top of the ACC standings with 2.20 goals scored per game. The Irish rank 10th in NCAA Division I soccer with 7.80 shots on goal per game, with only Wake Forest and Duke outpacing Notre Dame in the ACC.
Irish Also Limit Opposing Chances
After five games, Notre Dame is among the top 10 teams in NCAA Division I men’s soccer in total shots allowed on goal. The Irish are tied for third nationally with only 14 attempts on goal allowed thus far this season.
Scouting Bowling Green
Bowling Green enters Tuesday’s game on a two-game skid at 5-2 after dropping a 1-0 decision to Michigan State and a 3-1 verdict to Cincinnati.
Head coach Eric Nichols is 67-68-24 (.497) in his ninth season at the helm of the Falcons, and was named the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Coach of the Year in 2016.
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.