Oct. 7, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A late first half equalizer from freshman Thomas Ueland brought the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team level with Michigan on a clear Wednesday night meeting between the teams at Alumni Stadium. Despite the home team controlling the flow of possession in the second half and extra time, the Irish and Wolverines battled to a spirited 1-1 nonconference draw.
No. 7/4 Notre Dame (7-2-3) outshot Michigan (5-2-3) 18-14 during the contest, including 10-6 in the second half and overtime sessions. It was the fifth straight Irish result dating back to a 4-0 win at Michigan State on Sept. 22.
“We made a lot of really good chances and we came up against a really hot goalkeeper,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “Their goalkeeper (Evan Louro) had several fantastic saves, that’s the way it goes sometimes. We gave up kind of a soft goal and were our own worst enemies early in the game, with critical turnovers. But with the offense we made good chances again.
“Michigan is a very tough team,” Clark added. “They are a hard-working team, they pressure you and back-pressure you hard, and I was quite pleased with the way we were able to find a rhythm into the game.”
Michigan looked to convert the first offensive chance of the match in the opening minute, as a Notre Dame turnover found its way to Will Mellors-Blair up the right flank. Mellors-Blair cranked a 15-yard chance toward the far post, but Chris Hubbard made a stellar sprawling stop for an early save.
Great touch passing down the field from tri-captain Max Lachowecki and Jeffrey Farina along the left flank found a cutting Jon Gallagher in front of the Michigan goal in the 13th minute. Wolverine goalkeeper Louro saved Gallagher’s diving header off the Farina pass to stop the Notre Dame run.
Evan Panken weaved through traffic along the left sideline, serving a great through ball near post in the 20th minute. Gallagher tried to volley the chance inside the iron, but Louro dove to his right to knock the ball out of danger.
Michigan took a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute on a nifty goal from Francis Atuahene. Colin McAtee gathered a loose ball at the top of the 18-yard box and sent Atuahene on down the left side of the penalty area, where he finished into the right netting off the inside of the far post at 22:31 for his eighth of the season and the Wolverine advantage.
A tempting Panken try in the 28th minute was saved by Louro, and the rebound found its way to Gallagher at the left post. The Notre Dame striker tried to jam the ball short side, but it drifted out of play.
Notre Dame found its equalizer just before halftime in the 43rd minute. Lachowecki whipped a great cross from near the left sideline in front to Ueland. The talented freshman flicked the ball on the run over a prone Louro for his third goal of the season, all against Big Ten opponents, at 42:43 to square the match at 1-1.
“This team has good character,” Clark said. “If you’re going to win you have to handle setbacks, you don’t score five goals in every game. When we did go behind in this game it was disappointing, but the good thing was there was still plenty of time in the game to get back into it. You don’t want to lose a game in the last minute of the second overtime, that’s when it really hurts.”
Ueland picked up the first Notre Dame shot of the second half in the 52nd minute, as an attempt from 20 yards out was blocked out of play. Michigan was able to clear the zone on the following Irish corner kick to stall the threat.
Farina broke free behind the Michigan defense in the 63rd minute and looked to get a clean left foot on a running shot. Louro was once more on the mark to make the stop.
Tri-captain Patrick Hodan had a pair of solid offensive chances back-to-back in the 77th minute. An equally impressive combination of saves from Louro, including one that deflected off the left goal post and carried out of frame, stoned the Notre Dame attack.
A Hodan free kick was punched aside by Louro in the 87th minute. Tri-captain Connor Klekota centered the ball out front to Brandon Aubrey, who struck an off-balance try that hit the outside of the right post to narrowly miss the winning Notre Dame goal.
Notre Dame was again in search of the winning score in the 102nd minute. Farina shielded his defender and sent a nice through ball ahead to Gallagher, who ripped a shot from the left wing over the top of the crossbar.
The Irish made one last run at the victory in the match’s final 10 seconds. Panken sent deep corner from the left flag over the box and found Hodan in space. Hodan sent a looping service back in to Farina for a solid 14-yard header on net, but Louro made his final stand of the night by snagging the ball to cement the draw.
“I thought in the overtimes that we were the team that wanted to win the game,” Clark said. “In all of the overtime games we have played this year, I have been really proud of our guys for going to win the game. I’ve felt nearly all of the other teams have been quite happy to sit back. Even NC State on Sunday, they dominated the early parts of that game but when it came to overtime they were happy to settle for the tie. I love our attitude of going out to win the game.”
Notre Dame remains home on Saturday, welcoming Duke for an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) match at Alumni Stadium. Admission to the noon (ET) contest is free, in advance of the Notre Dame-Navy football game later that afternoon.
“The big thing for us is recovery time,” Clark said. “Duke played on Monday so they will have a couple of extra days. The last thing we probably wanted was an overtime game, and it would have been nice to get out tonight in regulation. Duke is a tough team, and our guys will be ready come high noon at kickoff on Saturday.”
Oct. 7, 2015
No. 7/4 Notre Dame 1, Michigan 1
Alumni Stadium (Notre Dame, Ind.)
No. RV Michigan 1 0 0 0 — 1
No. 7/4 Notre Dame 1 0 0 0 — 1
Shots: ND 18 (8-6-2-2), UM 14 (8-4-2-0)
Shots on goal: ND 9 (4-4-0-1), UM 6 (4-1-1-0)
Saves: ND 5 (Chris Hubbard 5 in 110:00), UM 8 (Evan Louro 8 in 110:00)
Corner Kicks: ND 5 (2-1-1-1), UM 10 (2-7-1-0)
Fouls: ND 14, UM 16
Offsides: ND 2, UM 1
Yellow Card: Francis Atuahene (UM) 37:39
— Tony Jones, Athletics Communications Assistant