Sept. 2, 2017
by Tony Jones
STORRS, Conn. — A dream offensive start for University of Notre Dame men’s soccer senior forward Jeff Farina continued to blossom on Saturday night. Farina drove home a feed from sophomore midfielder Jack Casey in the 84th minute to catapult the No. 9 Irish to a 1-0 win over Connecticut at Morrone Stadium.
Notre Dame (3-0-0) earned its first official road victory of 2017 in its return to UConn (1-2-0), a former fellow BIG EAST Conference member. The Irish picked up their first win in Storrs since the 2006 season against a game UConn squad, extending their win streak over the Huskies to three straight games overall since 2012.
A defensive stalemate spelled the opening 45 minutes, with UConn holding a 3-1 shots advantage at the end of the first half. Farina blasted a long try from just outside the 18-yard box that was turned away for a save at the horn. Farina’s try was the only official shot on goal for either team in a first half that ended 0-0.
The Irish won a corner kick early in the second half after a run down the right wing cleared a path toward the UConn net. A looping service from Felicien Dumas at the flag was knocked out of danger by the Huskies defense.
Against the UConn march the Irish continued to press on, and Notre Dame’s perseverance in the second half was finally rewarded in the 84th minute. Casey settled a service across from the left wing that found Farina waiting near the right post, and the Irish attacker blasted his fourth goal of the young season into the net at 83:43 for the 1-0 Notre Dame lead.
UConn continued to bring the offensive pressure, now trying to find the equalizer within the game’s final five minutes. A header from just inside the 18 in the 90th minute flew wide of the right post and cemented the Notre Dame victory.
Notre Dame hits the road for its first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) game of 2017, traveling to Newton, Massachusetts, to take on Boston College on Sept. 8. The conference contest is set for 5 p.m. (ET) at Newton Soccer Field.
Play of the Game
Against the run of play, Notre Dame was rewarded for a tenacious effort in the second half by being the only team on the scoreboard at night’s end. A Jack Casey feed to Jeff Farina in the 84th minute not only gave Farina his team-high fourth goal of the season, it gave the Irish a 1-0 victory.
Chris Hubbard needed to make only two saves to earn his 19th career shutout, but none was bigger than his stop of a shot on the step in the 62nd minute. UConn’s Nicholas Apostol broke free up the right wing and sent a curving blast in toward the near post, but Hubbard sprawled to his left and punched the ball out of bounds for a spectacular save. Notre Dame cleared the resulting UConn corner and limited the offensive production from the Huskies the remainder of the game.
Note of the Game
Notre Dame won for just the third time in Storrs, and secured its first win on UConn’s home ground since a 1-0 decision on Oct. 21, 2006, when Michael Thomas found the winning goal in the 65th minute. Along with a scoreless draw on Oct. 22, 2010, the only other Notre Dame result on the UConn campus came by way of a 2-1 win in overtime on Oct. 19, 1986.
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.