Sept. 15, 2017
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Set pieces were the path to victory for the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team on Friday night. 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.
NC State (3-2-0, 1-1-0 ACC) appeared to take the early lead in the seventh minute, after a chip from the right flank following a short corner kick found the back of the net for the Wolfpack. Following some deliberation from the game’s officials, the goal was disallowed due to an NC State player being deemed offside when the corner kick was taken.
The teams would trade both possession and shots before Notre Dame (5-0-0, 2-0-0 ACC) broke through on the scoreboard in the 31st minute. A corner won deep in the NC State end set the table for Felicien Dumas, who 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.
As things looked to settle just before halftime, Jack Casey and Jeff Farina had other ideas. A pinpoint pass up the near sideline by Casey and a one-touch lob toward the front of the net by Farina allowed Gallagher to beat his markers to the spot. A single dribble and rocket right-footed shot from just inside the 18-yard box later, Gallagher had his fourth goal of the season (44:51) and Notre Dame took a 3-0 edge into the locker room.
With the pressure firmly on NC State emerging from the locker room, the Wolfpack chased the game in the offensive end and evened the game’s shot tally (12-12) with a 7-5 advantage in the second half. Notre Dame fifth-year senior goalkeeper/tri-captain Chris Hubbard stood tall in goal with three saves in the second frame, including a point-blank stop on the step in the 71st minute, to turn NC State aside. Hubbard’s third clean sheet of the season was the 20th of his Notre Dame career.
The Irish return to Alumni Stadium on Tuesday, hosting No. 19 Bowling Green in a nonconference matchup at 7 p.m. (ET). The contest will air live on ACC Network Extra.
Play of the Game
The artful passing of Jack Casey and Jeff Farina provided the third and final Notre Dame goal of the game. A one-touch flick by Casey and a perfect, arching one-time feed from the sideline by Farina found a breaking Jon Gallagher in space up the center of the pitch. Gallagher deposited his fourth goal of the season into the back of the net with only nine seconds remaining in the first half to push the game out of reach.
Felicien Dumas and Patrick Berneski, who would combine for the second Notre Dame goal, were direct participants in aligning the first Irish tally. A looping free kick from the left wing from Dumas attempted to find Berneski in front of the NC State goal, but a clearing header gave Notre Dame an opportunistic corner. Matt Habrowski would finish the service from Dumas seconds later for the 1-0 Notre Dame lead at 30:15.
Note of the Game
Senior forward/tri-captain Jon Gallagher scored his 30th career goal in a Notre Dame uniform at 44:51 of the first half, breaking what was previously a four-way tie with Patrick Hodan (’15), Bill Lanza (’95) and Kevin Pendergast (’92) at 29. Gallagher moved into solo 12th on the all-time Irish goals list, and also rose to 16th in program history with 73 career points.
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.