Aug. 24, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A strong first half performance by the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team and its starters put on the early pressure. An early second half goal from Oliver Harris proved to be the difference, as the No. 4 Irish outlasted No. 22 Saint Louis 1-0 on Monday night at Alumni Stadium. Monday’s matchup was the final exhibition contest for Notre Dame, along with being the annual Grassroot Soccer game.
Proceeds collected at Alumni Stadium will be donated to Grassroot Soccer to help the organization promote awareness and prevention of HIV and AIDS. Notre Dame wore yellow Grassroot Soccer t-shirts during pregame warm-ups to commemorate the 12th annual benefit game.
The Irish outshot the Billikens 12-9, and held a 6-3 edge in corner kicks. Saint Louis finished with a minor edge in shots on goal, 4-2.
“We almost were able to get 70 minutes out of the starters, and I think that was important,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “We wanted to give them a good run but not do too much because we have a huge game on Friday (against No. 13 Maryland).
“Out of the three scrimmages we played, this was the first one where I felt we controlled large parts of the game,” Clark said. “They came out strong in the first 10 minutes, but after that we got a hold of the game and that was nice to see. We didn’t get as many goals as we’d like, but I felt we controlled the game.”
Harris made the most of the first official shot on goal of the match, taking a great feed from Evan Panken before burying a right-footed strike from 20 yards out at 49:58 into the left corner of the net. The perfect strike gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead that it would not relinquish.
“We did get a nice goal, Oliver Harris hit a nice goal,” Clark said. “The last 20 minutes we put on some of the younger players and they held. They had to fight hard to hold the win, which was fun, and it was good to see Brian Talcott looking sharp again in the goal.”
The Irish kept the pressure on during the next offensive possession after the Harris goal, as Jon Gallagher blasted a shot in close that was parried aside by Saint Louis goalkeeper Sascha Otte. Off the following Notre Dame corner kick, Harris nearly got his second goal in as many minutes but rang an attempt off the crossbar at 50:38.
Saint Louis looked to equalize in the 60th minute. The Irish stuffed the surge, as shots in close by Lennart Hein and Joe Saad were both saved by the Notre Dame goalkeeper Talcott.
The Billikens had two great chances in the 83rd minute, but a shot by Anthony Brown from 10 yards out was blocked away by the Notre Dame defense. Saad looked to finish the rebound from striking range, but Talcott made a terrific sprawling save to stymie the Saint Louis attack.
It was the mix of veteran experience alongside young rising talent on the Notre Dame back line that Clark felt helped preserve the clean sheet.
“We left Brandon Aubrey in there (on defense in the second half), it’s always handy to have big Brandon there,” Clark said. “Patrick Berneski, we call him `Bernie’, came in and has played a lot because Matt Habrowski has been nursing a minor injury. It was good to get Berneski and Aubrey together. They do a nice job, two big bodies in there with pretty good feet. They did well.”
A great run down the right flank by Michael Shipp in the eighth minute gave Notre Dame its first scoring chance of the game. Shipp sent a nice cross into the box that found the foot of Gallagher, who blasted an attempt over the top of the cross bar.
The Irish nearly broke through in the 17th minute, but a header by tri-captain Connor Klekota off a service from the left flank drifted wide of the right post.
Saint Louis set up its first scoring chance in the 26th minute after a Notre Dame yellow card gave the Billikens a free kick at the top of the box. Hein struck a powerful left-footed blast from 25 yards that sailed high to avert the threat.
Notre Dame closed the first half with three corner kick attempts over the final 10 minutes, but the Saint Louis back line held firm. The Irish closed the scoreless period with a 7-2 lead in shots to go along with a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks.
Notre Dame opens the 2015 regular season against a pair of top 15 opponents this weekend. The Irish face No. 13 Maryland on Friday at 5 p.m. before taking on No. 14 Indiana at 2 p.m. Sunday during the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic at Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington. The Big Ten Network will cover both matches.
“It’s hard to simulate the season in preseason,” Clark said. “Full marks to Saint Louis, they pushed us tonight and they are a very good team. I think they’ll have a good season. All of our games have prepared us but Maryland and Indiana, you don’t get much bigger than that to start your season.”
Season and single game tickets for Notre Dame men’s soccer are on sale now. Visit und.com/tickets or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356.
August 24, 2015
No. 4 Notre Dame 1, No. 22 Saint Louis 0 (exhibition)
Alumni Stadium (Notre Dame, Ind.)
No. 22 Saint Louis 0 0 — 0
No. 4 Notre Dame 0 1 — 1
Shots: ND 12 (7-5), SLU 9 (2-7)
Shots on goal: ND 2 (0-2), SLU 4 (0-4)
Saves: ND 4 (Chris Hubbard 0 in 45:00; Brian Talcott 4 in 45:00), SLU 1 (Sascha Otte 1 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: ND 6 (5-1), SLU 3 (0-3)
Fouls: ND 10, SLU 7
Offsides: ND 1, SLU 1
Yellow Cards: Anthony Brown (SLU) 24:11; Thomas Ueland (ND) 25:33; Lennart Hein (SLU) 40:51
— Tony Jones, Athletics Communications Assistant