Sept. 23, 2016
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – In what could arguably be called one of the greatest games in stadium history, a left-footed blast into the upper 90 by Jon Gallagher with 18 seconds remaining powered the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team to a thrilling 2-1 win over No. 2 Syracuse on Friday night before more than 2,400 fans at a jam packed Alumni Stadium.
After outshooting Syracuse (8-1-0, 2-1-0 ACC) by a 10-4 margin in the first half, No. 3 Notre Dame (7-1-0, 2-1-0 ACC) withstood an Orange second half surge that included a 79th minute equalizer to notch the crucial Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) win. The Irish ultimately finished with a 14-12 edge in shots, including a 5-3 count on goal.
The victory was the 200th at Notre Dame for head coach Bobby Clark. Clark, in his 16th season at the helm of the Irish, improved to 200-80-51 during his Notre Dame tenure.
Gallagher drove his sixth goal of 2016 past Syracuse goalkeeper Hendrik Hilpert and into the left corner of the Orange net from more than 20 yards out to give Notre Dame the win at 89:42. Midfielder Jack Casey opened his collegiate goal account in the first half, scoring his first career goal on an Evan Panken service for a 1-0 Irish lead at 44:04.
Syracuse battled back to draw even after winning a corner kick deep in the Notre Dame third in the 79th minute. After leaving earlier in the first half with an upper body laceration, Oyvind Alseth served a looping corner that Miles Robinson deposited into the Notre Dame net for his fourth goal of the season at 78:59, making the score 1-1.
After a near full-week competitive break, Notre Dame resumes its ACC schedule on Sept. 30 at Pittsburgh. Coverage of the 7 p.m. (ET) match is expected to be available via ACC Network Extra.
Season and single game tickets for the 2016 Notre Dame men’s soccer season remain on sale. Visit und.com/BuyTickets or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356 for more information or to purchase tickets.
Play of the Game
Notre Dame’s late heroics, which included the third victory this season clinched within the final minute of regulation or in an overtime period, secured the 200th win at Notre Dame for head coach Bobby Clark. Clark, the all-time wins leader among Irish men’s soccer mentors, joined legendary women’s coach Randy Waldrum (292) as the only Notre Dame soccer coaches to surpass 200 wins at the University.
A great through ball by Jack Casey, who finished Notre Dame’s first goal of the night in the opening half, found Jon Gallagher alone in space with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation of a 1-1 contest. Gallagher uncorked a rising left-footed shot from more than 20 yards out that continued to rise into the left corner of the Syracuse goal for the improbable game-winner at 89:42.
Coach Bobby Clark
On earning his 200th Notre Dame win…
“It was a surprise, I had no idea. I should have known something was going to happen, it always happens around my birthday (next week). My 100th overall win was at Stanford on my birthday, and my 200th was at Cincinnati when big Bright Dike scored a goal. That was a way back and was on my birthday, which is on Monday, so it’s close. I remember the Stanford one was brilliant because we beat Sacramento State in overtime 1-0 and the person who scored the goal for us shared my birthday. We had a double one. Things happen around my birthday, so that was fun. What a fantastic goal to win it. Actually the first goal was also the first career goal for Jack Casey. There were a lot of good things happening tonight.”
On holding the ball up front and putting pressure on the Syracuse defense…
“We did well the first half, and then they were chasing the game with a bit of a wind (in the second half). They’re very good in your half, and we had a hard time getting out of it. We actually had a few breaks, Jon Gallagher had an earlier chance. It was a great advert for ACC soccer, it was a fantastic game.”
The team once more going the extra mile for a win…
“A tie might have been fair to everyone, but seeing it was coming up for my birthday and 200th Notre Dame victory it was fitting it was a win for us. It was a very good game and could easily have been a tie. I thought we worked very hard in there today. Jack Casey coming on and getting a goal, and he was on the field there at the end. We needed that win, if we’d had lost that one it would have made the league quite difficult. That pegs one of the top guys (Syracuse) back and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Note of the Game
Notre Dame earned its 11th straight regular season result against Syracuse (10-0-1), dating back to a 3-1 BIG EAST Conference road victory on Sept. 5, 1998.
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.