Sept. 6, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The offensive intensity and quality reached peak levels for the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team on Sunday. A pair of goals from sophomore forward Jon Gallagher, along with the first career goal for senior Michael Shipp and an added insurance score from senior tri-captain Connor Klekota powered the Irish to a 4-0 over UAB in the final match of the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament on a sunny afternoon at Alumni Stadium.
No. 5/8 Notre Dame (3-0-1) earned its sixth tournament win in the 13-year history of the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament, and its first since the 2012 edition of the event. The Irish won a championship tiebreaker with Indiana after both teams were victorious in each of their two tournament games, with Notre Dame finishing with a plus six overall goal differential (6-0) to the plus three mark (4-1) of the Hoosiers.
Notre Dame has yet to concede a goal after its first four regular season matches, marking a first in program history. The current shutout streak has amassed a total of 398:32 of match time. The win over UAB was also the 500th all-time victory in the 39-year history of the Notre Dame men’s soccer program at the varsity level.
Gallagher finished as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player after scoring three goals on four shots on goal during the weekend. Shipp was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player in recognition of his game-winning goal against UAB and his key play in both Notre Dame shutout victories during the tournament. Chris Hubbard claimed Most Outstanding Goalkeeper honors after turning aside three shots in 173:10 minutes of shutout soccer during the weekend.
“Once we got the second goal they all kind of fell down, but it was a tough game,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “They had a really good chance that hit the post just before we got the second goal, if that goes down it’s a different game. We dominated territorially and I thought the second half was very good. We actually opened the first 10 minutes very well and then got complacent, while in the second half we really moved the ball. It was fun to watch the second half.”
Notre Dame nearly got an immediate goal in the second minute. A rebound found its way to Max Lachowecki at the left of the box, setting up a great serve in to Klekota in range. Klekota’s header was punched away by UAB goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky.
Jeffrey Farina received a pass on a run up the right in the sixth minute, clubbing a right-footed blast from 15 yards out. Teammate Gallagher narrowly missed the rebound chance to thwart another Notre Dame chance.
UAB looked to counter in the eighth minute on a cross to Freddy Ruiz. Ruiz’s flick attempt clipped off the crossbar and sailed out of play to stall the Blazer offensive.
The Irish finally broke through in the 20th minute on the strength of a superb run from Evan Panken. Panken left off a great drop pass to Shipp coming down the right flank, and Shipp buried his first career goal to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead at 19:15.
“It was great to see Michael Shipp score because he does such a fantastic job of getting up the wing,” Clark said. “He got a great goal for the first (career) goal that he made. He was flying.”
UAB nearly countered in the 28th minute when Ian Svantesson rang the second Blazer shot of the match off the crossbar after DeAndre Robinson lofted a testy corner kick from the right flag.
“If that ball that hits the post goes in it’s suddenly 1-1 and rejuvenates them,” Clark said. ” We go up the field and we score, put it to two, on a very warm day. It could have been quite a few after that.”
Patrick Hodan floated an arching corner kick from the left flag that carried through the box in the 43rd minute. Brandon Aubrey connected on a solid header that drifted just wide of the right post to end the opening period.
It was more of the same on offense for Notre Dame to start the second half. Panken threaded a great through pass to Hodan in the 52nd minute, but Kuzminsky made a great save on the shot attempt.
An Irish flurry in the 55th minute saw three straight shots blocked on the doorstep in front of the UAB goal. Hodan clocked the final try that spun in the air into the waiting arms of Kuzminsky.
Gallagher tallied an insurance goal for Notre Dame in the 67th minute. A failed clearance attempt from the UAB back line landed right in the Irish striker’s feet, and Gallagher finished from 12 yards into the left corner of the net at 66:45 to up the Notre Dame cushion to 2-0.
The Irish kept the volume of offense rolling into the 73rd minute for their third goal. Farina flicked a header off a corner kick to the right side of the box, where Blake Townes left off a nice feed to Klekota. The Notre Dame tri-captain launched a rocket right-footed shot into the left corner of the net at 72:01 for his first of the year and a 3-0 Irish advantage.
“Oliver Harris did well, we gave him the first half and then gave Blake the second half,” Clark said. “These two have been sharing time in the midfield and I thought both did well. Ollie is the workhorse, and he really works hard. Blake is such a smooth player and is possibly our best player technically, certainly one of our best when he comes in.
“Ollie does the hard work, then the game opens up a bit and Blake can start to find the gaps,” Clark added. “They are a nice combination.”
Notre Dame capped the victory with the second goal of the day by Gallagher. Another great feed in from the left by Townes found Gallagher in position, where he cashed in his third goal of the tournament and season at 83:10 to close the day’s scoring.
“It was fun to see Jon get a couple of goals, the hard job is keeping Jon out of the goal,” Clark said. “I think the nice thing is a lot of our guys that haven’t scored goals yet can score goals, so I’m pretty optimistic about the attack. That game is now put to bed, we must look forward to Clemson.”
Notre Dame continues its current homestand against No. 9 Clemson on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. (ET). The match against the defending Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) tournament champion Tigers will air live on ESPN3.
“If you had said to me coming into the four games that we played that we would be 3-0-1, I would have been very pleased,” Clark said. “I’ve always said coming out of these two tournaments that if you’re above .500 you’re really good, and to be where we are is terrific. The (first) two weekends have been very good but we have a huge game with Clemson, possibly the best team (in the conference). They won the ACC tournament last year and they are a very talented team.
“If anyone wants to see a great soccer game, next Saturday, this is the place to be.”
Sept. 6, 2015
Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament – Game 4
No. 5/8 Notre Dame 4, No. RV UAB 0
Alumni Stadium (Notre Dame, Ind.)
No. RV UAB 0 0 — 0
No. 5/8 Notre Dame 1 3 — 4
Shots: ND 28 (13-15), UAB 6 (4-2)
Shots on goal: ND 11 (5-6), UAB 1 (1-0)
Saves: ND 1 (Chris Hubbard 1 in 83:10; Brian Talcott 0 in 6:50), UAB 7 (Joe Kuzminsky 4 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: ND 8 (4-4), UAB 4 (4-0)
Fouls: ND 7, UAB 9
Offsides: ND 0, UAB 0
Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament
1. Notre Dame (2-0-0, +6)*
2. Indiana (2-0-0, +3)
3. USF (0-2-0, -4)
4. UAB (0-2-0, -5)
* – Goal differential tiebreaker
Berticelli All-Tournament Team
Jon Gallagher, F, Notre Dame
Michael Shipp, D, Notre Dame
Chris Hubbard, GK, Notre Dame
Connor Klekota, M, Notre Dame
Tanner Thompson, M, Indiana
Grant Lillard, D, Indiana
Francesco Moore, M, Indiana
Brendan Hines-Ike, D, USF
Lindo Mfeka, F, USF
Karl Chester, F, UAB
Ian Svantesson, D, UAB
Most Outstanding Offensive Player:
Jon Gallagher, Notre Dame
Most Outstanding Defensive Player:
Michael Shipp, Notre Dame
Most Outstanding Goalkeeper:
Chris Hubbard, Notre Dame
— Tony Jones, Athletics Communications Assistant