Nov. 1, 2014
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The fifth-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team clinched its second straight Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title with a 4-1 win over Pitt on Saturday evening at Ambrose Urbanic Field. The Fighting Irish are champions of the league’s Coastal Division.
Forward Leon Brown spearheaded the Fighting Irish attack with two goals. Junior midfielder Evan Panken added a goal and two assists, while his classmate and fellow midfielder Patrick Hodan scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season.
The Fighting Irish, who are in their second season in the ACC, finished league play with 19 points to not only lock up the Coastal Division crown, but they finished on top of the entire conference. Clemson and Syracuse split the Atlantic Division title with 16 points apiece.
Notre Dame (10-4-3, 6-1-1) will be the No. 1 seed for the upcoming ACC Championship. The Fighting Irish will play host to the winner of the first-round match between Virginia and Virginia Tech in the quarterfinals on Nov. 9.
“One of our goals that we always talk about is to win the treble (ACC regular season, ACC tournament, NCAA tournament) and they all are very difficult to win,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “The ACC has several very, very good teams. Ironically, the only game we lost in the league (1-0 to Boston College) was the one we possibly dominated the most. Soccer can be a strange game sometimes.”
Brown put Notre Dame up 1-0 in the 10th minute as he scored off an assist from Panken. The Irish pushed the lead to two in the 30th minute when Panken found Hodan, who scored for the seventh time in the last eight games.
Brown’s second goal of the night came in the 40th minute off a cross from right back Luke Mishu. Brown’s two goals matched a single-game career-high total that he also achieved last season versus SMU. The fifth-year senior has five goals this season.
The Fighting Irish led 3-0 at the intermission. The three first-half goals tied Notre Dame’s largest output in a single half this season. The Irish also scored three times in the second period against Duke on Oct. 17.
“I felt that we were very lethal in their half of the field,” Clark stated. “We struggled a little bit to connect passes after our first goal, but every time we got into their half of the field we looked dangerous. We could have scored a few more goals.
“We played with a strong wind in the first half and against it in the second half. I felt we completely controlled the game in the second half.”
Pitt (4-9-4, 0-6-2) got on the board in the 81st minute on a Michael Tuohy goal. Notre Dame regained its three-goal lead on a tally from Panken, who has four goals this season, with two minutes remaining in the match. Freshman forward Jeffrey Farina assisted on the score to up his team-high assist total to six.
The four tallies equaled a season-high total for the Fighting Irish, who also had that output against Dartmouth and Duke.
The Irish held an 8-2 shots-on-goal advantage over the Panthers. Notre Dame goalkeeper Patrick Wall made one save in the win, while his counterpart Dan Lynd had four stops for Pitt. The Panthers had a 5-1 edge in corner kicks.
This is Notre Dame’s seventh regular-season conference title. Five of those championships have come in the Clark era (3 Big East, 2 ACC). Notre Dame tied Maryland for last season’s ACC regular-season crown.
Nov. 1, 2014
Ambrose Urbanic Field – Pittsburgh, Pa.
#5 Notre Dame (10-4-3, 6-1-1) 3 1 – 4
Pitt (4-9-4, 0-6-2) 0 1 – 1
— Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director