Oct. 9, 2017 by Tony Jones
2017 NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER – Match 12
#9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-2-1) vs. Michigan Wolverines (7-3-2)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – During a one-game respite from the grind of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team and Michigan duel in a nonconference showdown on Tuesday night at Alumni Stadium. The 7 p.m. (ET) matchup is set to air live on ACC Network Extra.
No. 9 Notre Dame (8-2-1) is unbeaten in its last three matches after dropping No. 5 Clemson by a 2-1 final last Friday night at Historic Riggs Field in Clemson, South Carolina. The Irish tallied the game-winning goal with just under two minutes remaining in regulation, when a Jon Gallagher free kick found Jeff Farina for the game-winning header in the 89th minute. It was Notre Dame’s 28th victory over a nationally-ranked opponent since joining the ACC in 2013.
Michigan (7-3-2) is receiving votes in the national polls after winning three of its last four starts, including a 3-1 Big Ten decision against Rutgers last Friday. The Wolverines are in search of their first win on the Notre Dame campus, with the Irish owning an 8-0-2 (.900) all-time edge in home meetings between the teams.
Irish Rewind History At Clemson
The last time Notre Dame traveled to Clemson, during the 2013 season, the Irish withstood an aggressive Tiger squad and claimed a 2-1 overtime win. History nearly repeated itself exactly last Friday night, as a Jon Gallagher goal in the 47th minute and a Gallagher to Jeff Farina connection in the 89th minute stunned No. 5 Clemson by that same score line at Historic Riggs Field.
No. 9 Notre Dame proved to be stellar on defense throughout the contest, and despite being outshot 19-8 by Clemson ultimately trailed by just a 5-4 margin in shots on goal. Goalkeeper Chris Hubbard added four key saves in the Irish net for the third consecutive win over a top-15 Clemson side for Notre Dame in the regular season.
Irish Strike Late Once Again
Last Friday’s win at No. 5 Clemson marked the fifth time this season Notre Dame has found an equalizer and/or winning goal within the last 15 minutes of regulation or overtime thus far. Jeff Farina scored in the 101st minute of a 2-1 win over Cal Poly (Aug. 27), the 84th minute of a 1-0 victory at UConn (Sept. 2), and headed in the winning goal in the 89th minute at Clemson; Thomas Ueland found a strike in the 77th minute to down Bowling Green 2-1 (Sept. 19); Jon Gallagher sent home a Sean Dedrick cross in the 99th minute to beat Northwestern 2-1 in overtime on Oct. 3.
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 53 games against foes in the national top 25. During that span, Notre Dame has compiled a 28-12-13 (.651) mark against the top 25 after facing No. 5 Clemson last Friday at Historic Riggs Field in Clemson, South Carolina.
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. Just last season, the Irish collided with 11 ranked foes in 21 total games played in reaching the NCAA Round of 16. Notre Dame has faced three ranked foes in its past four games after defeating No. 5 Clemson 2-1 with an 89th minute goal from Jeff Farina. The Irish are unbeaten in their last two ranked starts after tying No. 10 Virginia 1-1 on Sept. 29.
Gallagher Earns ACC POTW Nod
Notre Dame senior forward/tri-captain Jon Gallagher earned his second ACC Offensive Player of the Week scroll of the 2017 season on Monday. Gallagher scored a pair of goals (one game-winner) and added a game-winning assist to lead the Irish to wins over Northwestern and No. 5 Clemson.
After 11 starts in 2017, Gallagher is tied for the ACC lead with eight goals, a total that is good for a share of 11th nationally in NCAA Division I men’s soccer. The reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Year also leads all league strikers with 53 total shots attempted (4.82 per game), and is tied for fourth in the conference with 17 points thus far.
Irish In The RPI
In the second release of the ratings percentage index (RPI) by the NCAA for the 2017 Division I men’s soccer season, Notre Dame was slotted fifth in the week two rankings. The Irish have faced the 10th-hardest schedule in the entire NCAA as of Oct. 9, leading into Tuesday’s game with No. 21 Michigan.
Future Notre Dame opponents and their current RPI include No. 30 Pittsburgh (Oct. 13), No. 25 Akron (Oct. 17), No. 7 Duke (Oct. 20), No. 1 Michigan State (Oct. 24) and No. 3 North Carolina (Oct. 27).
Irish At The Top Of NCAA Stats
A full 11 games into the 2017 season, Notre Dame finds itself near the top of a pair of key NCAA team statistics. The Irish have committed only 7.27 fouls per game thus far this season, the fewest among all teams in NCAA Division I men’s soccer. Notre Dame also ranks second in the country with 7.27 corner kicks attempted per contest.
Irish Against the Big Ten
Leading in to Tuesday’s showdown against Michigan, Notre Dame is 69-66-23 (.509) against the current nine teams that comprise the Big Ten men’s soccer membership.
Michigan enters Tuesday’s game with a 7-3-2 record this season, most recently downing Rutgers by a 3-1 final score last Friday. The Wolverines are in search of their first nonconference win away from Ann Arbor this season.
Head coach Chaka Daley is 44-46-17 (.491) in his sixth season at Michigan, and has led the Wolverines to a .500 or better record in four of his first six campaigns in Ann Arbor.
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.