Sept. 12, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team capitalized on a 51st minute goal from junior defender Matt Habrowski to defeat No. 9/5 Clemson 1-0 on Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opener for both teams at Alumni Stadium.
No. 2/3 Notre Dame (4-0-1, 1-0-0 ACC) outshot Clemson (3-1-1, 0-1-0 ACC) 9-5 in the contest, including a 5-0 edge in shots on goal. The Irish extended their current shutout streak to open the 2015 season to 488:32, the longest such surge to begin a campaign in program history.
“That was always going to be a very difficult game,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “I thought we handled it well and knocked the ball forward well. Our two center backs, Patrick Berneski and Matt Habrowski, did very well and handled that. Our midfield was very good, Connor Klekota is just a dynamo in there. He works all the time and picks up the pieces. Oliver Harris and Blake Townes also.”
After Jon Gallagher and Berneski both had near misses on the Clemson frame early in the second half, Notre Dame broke through off a set piece. Evan Panken lofted a great corner kick with his right foot to a streaking Habrowski, who headed the ball at the near post into the far netting of the goal for the 1-0 Irish lead at 50:18.
“We called on one of our center backs to get the goal, which was very nice,” Clark said. “Matt got the goal. I think everyone was looking at Bernie (Berneski) as the big target and Matt snuck in. He’s done that a few times, and he did the same thing against Mexico last year in the spring game. He just sneaks in there and gets his head on it and scores a vital goal. It was a nice goal and that was all we needed.”
Clemson pushed the pace into the Notre Dame third in the 76th minute, but a pair of shots by Diego Campos were knocked out of play. The Tigers were unable to capitalize on the corner kick opportunities, as the Irish cleared the zone each time.
Notre Dame cinched up in the defensive third for the remainder of the night, allowing only a high drive from Campos in the 84th minute that sailed out of trouble to preserve the clean sheet. Clemson was unable to mount a true scoring chance despite five second half corner kicks and regular attacking runs across midfield.
“Clemson is very strong in set pieces, and I thought our discipline was good there,” Clark said. “Our marking was good and also the people in the zones. Our organization of the team was good.”
Jeffrey Farina broke in behind the Clemson defense in the seventh minute with a great Notre Dame look on goal. Farina’s shot from 15 yards was turned aside by Tiger goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell.
Clemson nearly got on the board in the 16th minute after Austen Burnikel sent a through ball to Iman Mafi. Mafi crossed behind the Notre Dame defense just early and was whistled for being offside in front of Irish goalkeeper Chris Hubbard.
Hubbard logged his fifth consecutive shutout in as many career matches to extend his personal scoreless streak to 481:42 this season. He did not need to register a single save during the full 90 minutes against Clemson.
It was a back and forth battle into the 42nd minute until Max Lachowecki broke in behind the Clemson defensive line, but his try on the run was blocked out of harm’s way to close a scoreless first half.
“We maybe could have finished the game a little better, we didn’t get a hold of the ball enough in the last 10 minutes and put the game into their half,” Clark said. “We ended up playing in our half more than I would like to, but we survived nicely and got the three points.”
Notre Dame closes its current four-game homestand with a nonconference matchup against Xavier on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. (ET) inside Alumni Stadium. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3.
Sept. 12, 2015
No. 2/3 Notre Dame 1, No. 9/5 Clemson 0
Alumni Stadium (Notre Dame, Ind.)
No. 9/5 Clemson 0 0 — 0
No. 2/3 Notre Dame 0 1 — 1
Shots: ND 9 (4-5), CU 5 (2-3)
Shots on goal: ND 5 (2-3), CU 0 (0-0)
Saves: ND 0 (Chris Hubbard 0 in 90:00), CU 4 (Andrew Tarbell 4 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: ND 10 (3-7), CU 8 (3-5)
Fouls: ND 16, CU 11
Offsides: ND 2, CU 1
— Tony Jones, Athletics Communications Assistant