Nov. 29, 2015
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A spirited second half rally put the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team on the verge of an equalizing goal on Sunday. Maryland stood tall with its lead, including the final 12 minutes with only 10 men, to defeat the Irish 2-1 in the NCAA Championship Round of 16 at Alumni Stadium.
No. 7 Notre Dame (11-5-6) outshot No. 10 Maryland (12-5-5) by a cumulative 10-4 count in the second half, leading to a 13-13 split for the match. It was the first win at Alumni Stadium for Maryland, and its first victory overall against Notre Dame since 2007.
The Notre Dame senior class of 2016 ended its career with a stake to the claim of being the most accomplished graduating class in Irish program history. The 2015 seniors were a part of the 2012 BIG EAST Conference tournament championship team, a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular-season titlists (2013 and 2014), four NCAA Round of 16 qualifiers, and the first national championship squad in Notre Dame history in 2013.
“Goals are the thing that always make the difference, and we gave up two goals we wouldn’t want to give up,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “Goals change games, and we dug ourselves a bit of a hole with the two goals, but I have to compliment the team the way they roared back. Getting the goal before halftime was important, and I thought we were really unlucky at the end of the game not to take something out of it once they went down a man.
“We had been causing some problems before that and I felt good throughout the game, I thought it was going to fall for us,” Clark added. “Sometimes it doesn’t. It was a very competitive game and two good teams, and this round is always going to have two very good teams playing. We had so many close things in that last 15 minutes that didn’t quite come out for us.”
A pair of Notre Dame corner kicks in the seventh minute served as the bulk offensive production for either team in the opening 15 minutes. The Maryland back line was able to clear possession out of the Terrapin zone on both tries to stall the Irish offensive.
Notre Dame built up the attack in the 19th minute. A free kick from Evan Panken from 30 yards out was headed away by the Maryland defense, and a subsequent service from Oliver Harris just failed to connect.
A free kick at the left top of the Notre Dame box from Mael Corboz found a cutting Ivan Magalhaes springing toward the right post in the 21st minute. Magalhaes struck an artful header into the left netting for his first career goal and a 1-0 Maryland lead at 20:28.
“We knew that they had a few big weapons and very good delivery from their free kicks,” Clark said. “Between the delivery and the big targets it always makes set pieces very important.”
A foul against Panken at the top of the Maryland box in the 25th minute set up tri-captain Patrick Hodan with a tempting free kick from 25 yards. The strong left-foot toward the right post drifted out of play.
David Kabelik nearly put the second Maryland goal on the scoreboard in the 31st minute. A service pass to the right post was nearly back heel flicked into the net, but just carried over the crossbar.
The Terrapins did find cushion in the 38th minute. A flick header along by Corboz found an open Eryk Williamson, who weaved around the Irish defense to bury his sixth of the year at 37:55 for the 2-0 Maryland advantage.
Notre Dame struck back just over two minutes later. Panken lofted a rainbow corner kick from the far flag out front in the 41st minute, where Patrick Berneski headed home his first career goal to trim the Irish deficit to 2-1 at 40:10 heading into halftime.
“It was nice that young Patrick Berneski got one back,” Clark said. “In the second half there were no more goals but it was a very exciting second half. I thought our team played well and there was terrific soccer played, I was very pleased with how we played and chased the game. Unfortunately, there were no more goals.”
The Irish had the first good look on frame in the second half during the 60th minute. A loose ball found its way onto the foot of Blake Townes at the right top of the box, and Townes’ drive at the net went wide of the left post.
Tri-captain Max Lachowecki created off his own dribble in the 65th minute, working his way to the top of the Maryland 18-yard box before uncorking a strong right-footed shot. The ball carried just over the bar and out of the reach of Terrapin goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier.
A run to the end line in the 77th minute from Lachowecki allowed Jeffrey Farina to shake free near the left post. Lachowecki’s cross from the line was deflected wide of the left post on a strong hustle play from Farina.
“In the first half it was quite a good game, playing it without really pushing for anything,” Clark said. “The second half we obviously had to go for it a goal behind, so you have to chase the game. I thought we chased the game very well, and when Jon Gallagher and Jeffrey Farina came on in the second they were superb. Jeffrey especially was tremendous holding and linking with other players, he was phenomenal.
“Our fullbacks were getting into wide areas, really auxiliary wingers in the second half,” Clark added. “They gave us a lot of offense. (Tri-captain) Connor Klekota, what a fantastic shift he put in as well. He’s been playing with an injury these last few weeks, and he put in a fantastic shift.”
With Maryland down to 10 men after a second yellow card on Magalhaes, Notre Dame looked to equalize. Niedermeier punched a long free kick from Panken in the 78th minute into the air, where a subsequent header by Farina was sent high.
“They were going to hang on for the last 10 minutes, so we could push people forward a little higher,” Clark said. “We kept playing and kept making chances, we just couldn’t take them.”
An 87th minute Panken corner kick found Brandon Aubrey breaking at the right post unmarked by the Maryland defense, but his square header vaulted into the mesh behind the goal. The Terrapins would again clear the zone after a 90th minute attempt from Hodan went over the net and out of play.
“Unless you win the whole thing it’s always going to be difficult, you’re always going to be disappointed,” Clark said. “This senior class has been such a terrific group of young men and I wish we could have taken it a little bit further for them. This group has won a lot and it has been a fun group of boys to coach, it’s just sad for them a little bit. They should take a lot of pride in the way they play and their character, how hard they work. It’s a fantastic group of young men, and I’ve enjoyed working with this senior class and this whole team the entire year.”
Nov. 29, 2015
No. 10 Maryland 2, No. 7 Notre Dame 1
NCAA Championship Round of 16
Alumni Stadium (Notre Dame, Ind.)
No. 10 Maryland 2 0 — 2
No. 7 Notre Dame 1 0 — 1
Shots: MD 13 (9-4), ND 13 (3-10)
Shots on goal: MD 6 (3-3), ND 2 (1-1)
Saves: MD 1 (Cody Niedermeier 1 in 90:00), ND 4 (Chris Hubbard 4 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: MD 3 (2-1), ND 7 (3-4)
Fouls: MD 5, ND 12
Offsides: MD 1, ND 1
Yellow Cards: Ivan Magalhaes (MD) 18:51; Mael Corboz (MD) 70:19; Magalhaes (MD) 77:44; Alex Crognale (MD) 81:07
Red Card: Magalhaes (MD) 77:44
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant 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 at Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.