Sept. 4, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team utilized goals from sophomore Jon Gallagher and junior Brandon Aubrey to defeat No. 24 South Florida 2-0 on Friday in the 2015 home opener for the Irish at Alumni Stadium. The game was part of the 13th annual Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament at Notre Dame.
The No. 5/8 Irish (2-0-1) outshot USF (2-1-0) 15-11 on the night, including 9-4 in the second half. USF committed a match-high 15 fouls and received five yellow cards during the contest.
It was the third straight shutout for Notre Dame to open the regular season, the first time that had occurred since Mike Berticelli’s Irish posted three straight clean sheets to begin the 1995 campaign.
“I thought it was a very good performance,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “They had a few chances at the start, a couple flurries early on, and then we took over the game quite nicely. The second half was very good.
“If I am being ultra critical, maybe in the last seven or eight minutes we could have taken the game away from them,” Clark added. “We had to defend at that time instead of getting the ball back into their half. The best way to defend late in the game is to keep the ball. It was a great game and very similar to an ACC game, it was a very athletic team we were against. Full marks to them, they never gave up even down 2-0 in the last 10 minutes. They pushed, full marks to South Florida for that.”
USF nearly got on the board quickly in the sixth minute, as a pass found Nazeem Bartman out front in the six-yard box. His ensuing attempt rocketed over the crossbar and out of play.
Notre Dame struck first on a high-powered counter attack in the 10th minute. Gallagher collected an errant USF clearance and sent a lead pass ahead to himself. The sophomore striker finished the dribble on the run, beating Bulls goalkeeper Spasoje Stefanovic into the low left corner of the net at 9:33 for the 1-0 Irish lead.
“Jeff (Farina) did an incredible job of flicking it on, he had that guy in his pocket the whole game,” Gallagher said. “After that it was just re-pressure, which we work on all the time, and lucky enough it paid off.”
“It was an excellent goal, and Jon could have had a few others,” Clark said. “You could even give an assist to Chris Hubbard. Chris hit the first pass and it was a great kick. He caused problems all game with his kicking, and it was very good. Jon and Jeffrey Farina work so well together, they do a terrific job.”
Bartman got loose on a run down the left flank in the 18th minute. A skillful dribble past the Notre Dame defense gave the USF striker a look, but Hubbard knocked the attempt out of play past the left post.
Farina received a great pass on the right of the six-yard box from Patrick Hodan in the 25th minute. A right-footed drive from Farina was blocked out of play for a Notre Dame corner kick. Following the set piece, Evan Panken served up a blast from 20 yards that sailed just over the crossbar.
A rebound off a USF throw-in landed on the foot of Michael Bajza straight on frame in the 36th minute. Bajza’s try drifted just wide of the left post.
After a chippy start to the second half that saw a pair of USF players, Gabriel Pfeffer and Lindo Mfeka, pick up yellow cards within the first six minutes. Hodan then started a run down the right side in the 51st minute, but his shot sailed high into the mesh behind the net.
“They (USF) are a different opponent, and it’s always a good test getting a different opponent,” Gallagher said. “At the end of the day when you look at it, the best teams have to deal with all type of opponents. We did that tonight, and the boys worked very hard. We are proud of ourselves.”
Hodan blasted a tempting try from the right top of the box in the 58th minute, and a handball in the box by the USF defense gave Notre Dame a penalty try from the spot. Reigning Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Defender of the Week and TopDrawerSoccer Player of the Week Aubrey cashed in the penalty kick, burying a rocket into the left corner of the goal at 57:06 to extend the Notre Dame lead to 2-0.
Panken made a great dribble to get loose in the USF attacking third in the 66th minute. A right-footed looping kick from the Notre Dame midfielder sailed wide left of the far post.
USF’s Eduardo Maceira provided the Bulls with a great scoring chance in the 73rd minute, gathering a nice cross in the left of the 18 from Bartman. Hubbard stepped up to make a great save just inside the near post.
Notre Dame completes the 2015 Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament on Sunday against UAB at 2 p.m. (ET) on ESPN3 from Alumni Stadium. UAB dropped a 2-1 decision to Indiana during Friday tournament action.
“We will check where the injuries are, have a look at the video and see where it takes us,” Clark said. “Sunday will be a different sort of game. Tonight, even though it was warm there was a cool(ness) in the evening. Sunday games are different, and we have to be ready for that.”
Sept. 4, 2015
Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament – Game 2
No. 5/8 Notre Dame 2, No. 24/NR South Florida 0
Alumni Stadium (Notre Dame, Ind.)
No. 24/NR USF 0 0 — 0
No. 5/8 Notre Dame 1 1 — 2
Shots: ND 15 (6-9), USF 11 (7-4)
Shots on goal: ND 4 (1-3), USF 2 (1-1)
Saves: ND 2 (Chris Hubbard 2 in 90:00), USF 2 (Spasoje Stefanovic 2 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: ND 3 (2-1), USF 7 (2-5)
Fouls: ND 7, USF 15
Offsides: ND 0, USF 2
Yellow Cards: Oliver Harris (ND) 19:55; Eduardo Maceira (USF) 42:33; Gabriel Pfeffer (USF) 46:36; Lindo Mfeka (USF) 47:05; Brendan Hines-Ike (USF) 57:06; Graham Smith (USF) 86:59
— Tony Jones, Athletics Communications Assistant