PITTSBURGH – No. 23 Notre Dame (9-5-2, 4-3-1 ACC) wrapped up the regular season with a 1-0 victory over Pitt (7-10-0, 2-6-0 ACC) on Saturday evening in Pittsburgh. The Irish nicked the result late, as senior Thomas Ueland scored in the 85th minute.
With the victory the Irish locked up the No. 5 seed for the ACC Tournament. Notre Dame will host No. 12 Clemson in the first round on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The first half was a cagey affair, as the two sides combined for one shot on target. The best chance for Notre Dame in the opening 45 minutes came off a dangerous cross from senior Sean MacLeod. The forward whipped in a cross that a Pitt defender nearly turned into his own goal. The resulting corner produced two shots but neither found the back of the net.
The Irish were on the front foot to start the second half and threatened to score the opener in the 61st minute. Notre Dame had nice buildup on a counter that resulted in a shot from inside the box from Jack Casey. However, the midfielder’s shot was blocked, keeping the match scoreless.
Notre Dame scored the goal it was searching for in the 85th minute. The Irish won a free kick in the final third and senior Sean MacLeod provided great service by whipping the ball into the box. The ball fell to Ian Aschieris, who laid off a pass to Ueland. The senior’s shot deflected off a Pitt defender and past the keeper to give Notre Dame the 1-0 victory.
HEAD COACH CHAD RILEY’S TAKE
On the team’s performance…
“Credit to Pitt, they are a very good team. It was a tough game. I thought the first half we had some good moments in attack but were a little bit sluggish but overall defensively we were solid. We started the second half really well and came out very aggressively and started to really generate some momentum. Then we scored the breakthrough goal in the 85th minute. They were tough conditions tonight with the rain and wet field and some tired legs with three games in a week but overall I am really proud of the group’s response and I am happy to get a victory.”
On starting the ACC Tournament on Wednedsay…
“I think right now you just want to be winning. All the little habits that lead to winning you want to make sure those are the things you are doing well.”
STAT OF THE MATCH
The Irish improve to 6-1-1 away from home, recording a clean sheet in five of the eight matches.
NOTES OF THE MATCH
- The Irish improve to 17-4-3 against Pitt in the all-time series, including a record of 8-1-2 when playing at Pitt.
- Notre Dame recorded its sixth clean sheet of the season and has held the opposition to one or no goals in 12 of 16 matches.
- Thirteen of Notre Dame’s 27 goals this season have come from set pieces.
- After holding Pitt to no goals in the first half, the Irish have now shut out the opposition in 15 of 16 first halves this season.
- Ueland moves into a tie for first in goals for Notre Dame this season with six, tying with senior Patrick Berneski. Ueland has 14 goals in his career.
- MacLeod and Aschieris each picked up an assist on the goal. MacLeod now has three assists on the season and the assist was the first for Aschieris in his career.
- Goalkeeper Duncan Turnbull improves to 4-0-1 on the season and recorded the third clean sheet of his career.
Notre Dame will host No. 12 Clemson in the first round on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. at Alumni Stadium. The match will air live on ACC Network Extra via the WatchESPN app.