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Men’s Soccer: A dominant draw

Samantha Zuba | Sunday, September 22, 2013

Shots? Check. Goals? Not quite.
The No. 1 Irish created many scoring opportunities but couldn’t convert late to break a 1-1 tie with Boston College on Saturday in Newton, Mass.
Notre Dame (3-0-3, 1-0-2 ACC) had possession most of the game and outshot the Eagles (2-2-2, 1-1-1), but Boston College forced the draw in front of an enthusiastic home crowd of 2,000.
Irish coach Bobby Clark said he enjoyed the high attendance and strong crowd engagement.
“It was a terrific crowd,” Clark said. “It was a really great atmosphere for college soccer.”
Notre Dame ran an impressive offensive stat line, launching 17 shots against five for the Eagles, and Clark said he thought the Irish should have been able to secure a win. Despite the disappointment, the game produced positive developments for Notre Dame.
“I think if you look at the stats, you can see we dominated the game,” Clark said. “It was a matter of not converting chances, and that was disappointing. There were a lot more positives than negatives, though. We dominated and played well. They were just holding on trying to get a tie, so they’ll be happy with that.”
The Irish could not score after the 17th minute, although Boston College fielded 10 players and had to play defensively after the 60th minute when Eagles junior defender Nick Butler received his second yellow card.
Boston College struck first in the 17th minute when freshman forward Isaac Normesinu dashed into the box from the right side with sharp footwork and shot low past Irish senior goalkeeper Patrick Wall. It was the first goal of Normesinu’s college career and just the third goal allowed by Notre Dame this season.
Irish senior forward Harrison Shipp evened the score 12 seconds later when he fielded and converted a right cross from junior forward Vince Cicciarelli for his second goal of the season. Shipp led Notre Dame’s offense with five shots, and sophomore midfielder Patrick Hodan supplied four.
After Shipp’s goal, the Eagles’ defense prevented further quality shots from the Irish. Of Notre Dame’s 17 shots, only three were shots on goal, and Clark credited Boston College’s defensive work for slowing down the Irish.
“I think the team played well but they weren’t able to convert in the final area,” Clark said. “I think you’ve got to give their defense a lot of credit for holding us. They played defense well as a team, so we had a lot of shots but not a lot of good shots.”
As for the Irish, it was a quiet night on defense. Notre Dame held the Eagles to just five shots and three shots on goal, but the offense drove the pace of the game and helped the defense by keeping the ball away from Boston College.
“I think we had the ball most of the time,” Clark said. “We had to be sharp defensively, but I think it was more we had a lot of the ball.”
Now that the Irish have proven they can control a possession game, they have to take the next step and find the net more consistently, Clark said.
“We didn’t play the final chances,” Clark said. “We weren’t able to put the ball away.”
The Irish are next in action against Duke on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Stadium.
Contact Samantha Zuba at szuba@nd.edu