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Men’s Soccer

Late Wolfpack goal forces overtime, Irish earn tie

| Monday, October 5, 2015

The Irish got another stingy performance in goal, but a bicycle kick in the 75th minute forced overtime and proved to be the game’s decisive score, as No. 7 Notre Dame tied conference foe North Carolina State 1-1 on Sunday afternoon in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The conference matchup between the Irish (7-2-2, 2-2-1 ACC) and the host Wolfpack (6-2-2, 1-1-2 ACC) benefited from a surprisingly cooperative string of weather. Though the winds were significant throughout the afternoon, the day stayed dry and the field was well-maintained despite record rainfalls in the area as a result of Hurricane Joaquin. Irish head coach Bobby Clark praised the efforts of the athletic staff and grounds crew at NC State for the favorable field conditions.

“Very windy,” Clark said. “It was a strong wind, but it was dry, with no rain. The field was in good condition, and considering all of the heavy rain that they’ve had, the grounds crew did a very good job.”

Sophomore forward Jon Gallagher managed his seventh goal of the 2015 season in the 34th minute, and the Irish rode that momentum into halftime. However, a great deal of the game was spent at Notre Dame’s end of the pitch, as the Wolfpack kept the Notre Dame’s time of possession low and outshot the Irish 11-1 in the first 45 minutes. Still, the Irish defense held and was able to make the one-goal lead stand firm into the second half.

Senior midfielder Connor Klekota fends off a defender during a 3-1 win over Virginia at Alumni Stadium on Sept. 25.Amy Ackermann | The Observer

Senior midfielder Connor Klekota fends off a defender during a 3-1 win over Virginia at Alumni Stadium on Sept. 25.

Junior goalkeeper Chris Hubbard saved five of the six shots directed on goal, including a dangerous look from NC State in the 98th minute. Clark was quick to praise Hubbard’s efforts on the afternoon and called the one shot that did manage its way past him a thing of beauty.

“Chris had a terrific day today,” Clark said. “He was very, very good. He handled a great game – the one shot that went in was a phenomenal goal. It was a fantastic goal. A bicycle kick, side volley … not much to be done about that one.”

The angled shot came from NC State sophomore midfielder Zach Knudson, with an assist from freshman midfielder Julius Duchscherer, who chipped the ball forward. Despite the allowed goal, though, Clark praised his team’s defensive effort overall. Although the Wolfpack held a 23-9 advantage in shots, they managed only six attempts on goal to Notre Dame’s two.

“The whole team defended very well,” Clark said. “We had the better chances in the game despite the shot count. If you look at the game as a whole, we had some very good chances. It was a funny game because they had a lot of possession, they kept us in our half of the field, but Chris had some very good saves.”

The tie with NC State leaves the Irish in second place in the ACC coastal division, just ahead of No. 11 Virginia. They are two games back of undefeated No. 2 North Carolina, with conference matchups against No. 6 Wake Forest, Duke, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh looming as the regular season begins to wind down.

The Irish return home to host regional rival Michigan on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

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