Sept. 28, 2017 by Tony Jones
2017 NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER – Match 9
#7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-2-0, 2-1-0 ACC) vs. #10 Virginia Cavaliers (6-1-1, 1-1-1 ACC)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Looking to climb back to its winning ways after a pair of narrow road defeats, the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team returns home for an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) showdown with No. 10 Virginia on Friday. The 7:30 p.m. (ET) match will air live on ACC Network Extra.
No. 7 Notre Dame (6-2-0, 2-1-0 ACC) is back at Alumni Stadium following tough decisions (2-1 at Virginia Tech on Sept. 22 and 1-0 at No. 1 Indiana on Sept. 26) during a brief two-game road trip. The Irish are a combined 4-0 at Alumni Stadium to open the 2017 season, and have outscored opponents 9-2 on the Irish home ground entering Friday’s contest.
Virginia (6-1-1, 1-1-1 ACC) is set to make its sixth appearance at Alumni Stadium since the 2013 season alone, returning for the first time since a 1-0 quarterfinal defeat in the ACC Championship in 2015. Notre Dame has posted a 3-2 record against the Cavaliers at home in series history.
#1 IU Blanks Irish 1-0
After 65 minutes of facing a bend, don’t break approach, top-ranked Indiana found its way through on the scoreboard. Despite quality of play throughout the second half, Notre Dame ultimately fell to the Hoosiers 1-0 on Sept. 26 at Armstrong Stadium.
Indiana snapped a two-game losing streak to Notre Dame, and earned only its third result in its last nine starts against the Irish. Notre Dame most recently downed the Hoosiers by a 4-0 final score on Oct. 4, 2016
Closing The Gap With IU
For more than 20 years after Notre Dame gained varsity status in men’s soccer, the Irish series with in-state foe Indiana was decidedly one-sided. The eight-time NCAA champion Hoosiers won 18 of their first 20 meetings (18-1-1) with Notre Dame prior to Bobby Clark arriving in South Bend in 2001.
Since Clark became Notre Dame’s head coach that season, the Irish have leveled the series with Indiana considerably to the tune of a 9-9-1 record. The Irish have four victories over top-10 ranked Indiana squads in that span, and have earned six results at Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington during the Clark era. Both teams have been nationally ranked in the national top 25 at game time on 14 occasions since the 2001 season.
Gallagher Keeps Pace In The ACC
Despite being shut out of the goal column over his first three starts of the 2017 season, which included a team record 14 shot attempts against Cal Poly on Aug. 27, senior forward/tri-captain Jon Gallagher has exploded on offense as the calendar has changed to September.
Gallagher has scored six goals over the past five Irish contests, converting on six of his 14 shots on goal in that span. The goal barrage began with Gallagher’s first career hat trick in a 3-1 win at Boston College on Sept. 8, and continued with first half goals against NC State (Sept. 15) and Bowling Green (Sept. 19) during Notre Dame’s recent homestand at Alumni Stadium, and a second half tally at Virginia Tech on Sept. 22.
Included on the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List in the preseason, Gallagher is tied for fourth in the ACC in goals after attempting the most shots (40) after eight starts. The reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Year has scored 20 goals in his past 29 overall starts dating back to the opening game of the 2016 campaign.
Irish Against The Top 25 Since 2013
Dating back to the beginning of the 2013 season, the year Notre Dame won its first national championship in men’s soccer, the Irish have played a total of 51 games against foes in the national top 25. During that span, Notre Dame has compiled a 27-12-12 (.647) mark against the top 25 after facing No. 1 Indiana on Sept. 26 in Bloomington.
The Irish have averaged more than five ranked wins per season in the current string of success against the national top 25, and have earned a total of three results in four meetings with the top-ranked team in the country. Notre Dame has not fallen out of the national top 20 itself since the conclusion of the 2011 campaign.
On the way to claiming the 2013 NCAA title, Notre Dame earned 14 of its 23 total results that season against foes ranked in the top 25.
Irish In The ACC
In its fifth full season as an ACC member, Notre Dame has recorded a 22-8-8 (.684) conference mark in the regular season since 2013. The Irish shared the ACC regular-season championship (7-1-3) in 2013 before claiming the top position in the ACC Coastal Division (6-1-1) in 2014.
Notre Dame has logged a 12-2-4 (.778) record in home matches during the ACC regular season over the past four years, and has not lost a conference home match since Oct. 3, 2014 (1-0 to Boston College).
Budding ND-Virginia Rivalry
Friday’s game will mark the ninth meeting between Notre Dame and Virginia since 2013, with the teams facing each other on multiple occasions in three of those seasons. The teams have battled to an even 3-3-2 record in that span.
Virginia enters Friday’s game with a 6-1-1 record, fresh off defeating Davidson 2-1 on Sept. 25. The Cavaliers are 1-1-1 in ACC play thus far in 2017, tying Syracuse 2-2 (Sept. 8) before defeating Virginia Tech 2-1 (Sept. 15) and dropping a 2-1 decision to North Carolina in overtime (Sept. 22).
Head coach George Gelnovatch is 301-122-50 (.689) in his 22nd season at the helm of Virginia, and has led the Cavaliers to ACC titles in 1997, 2003, 2004 and 2009. The Hoos also claimed national championships to cap the 2009 and 2014 seasons.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.