Oct. 13, 2017
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Despite controlling large portions of the game and the final stat sheet, a victory was not in the cards for the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) action on Friday night. A counterattack in the 52nd minute allowed Pittsburgh to slip past the Irish 1-0 at Alumni Stadium.
No. 7 Notre Dame (9-3-1, 3-2-1 ACC) dropped its first decision at Alumni Stadium this season despite outshooting Pitt (8-6-0, 2-4-0 ACC) 17-9 on the night. The Irish also held a 10-5 advantage in corner kicks, and spent considerable time on the attack in the Panther defensive third. It was the third ranked win for Pitt in the past two weeks of play.
After four quick Pitt shots began the game with a fast pace out of the gate, Notre Dame began to dominate the flow of play the rest of the first half. As the corner kicks piled up for the Irish, so did the opportunities. A Thomas Ueland shot in the 25th minute traveled wide, and a Jon Gallagher try in the 26th minute went high of goal, but signaled a change in the game’s momentum.
Notre Dame ultimately outshot Pitt 11-0 over the final 20 minutes of the first half, but was unable to come away with a goal. The Panther defense did great to block four Notre Dame shots from in close to withstand the surge and send the game to halftime without a goal on the scoreboard.
Pitt was the early aggressor once more in the second half, and this time that persistence paid off on the scoresheet. Alexander Dexter gathered in a loose ball off a Notre Dame deflection in the 52nd minute and ripped a bending left-footed shot inside the right post to break through. Dexter’s fifth goal of the season gave the Panther a 1-0 lead at 51:17.
Now on the back foot, Notre Dame began to press and look for the equalizer. Ueland created space with a great run down the right wing for one of his game-high six shots in the 71st minute, but Pitt goalkeeper Mikal Outcalt punched the ball aside for a big save.
The chances were few for the Irish on the way home, and once more on the counterattack Pitt looked to put the game away in the 88th minute. Dexter broke free on a run toward goal, but Notre Dame goalkeeper Chris Hubbard made a great one-on-one save to keep the score line at what became its final 1-0 standing.
Notre Dame returns to nonconference action on Tuesday at Akron. The game at Cub Cadet Field at FirstEnergy Stadium is set for 7 p.m. (ET).
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.