Wolverines stymie Irish in draw
Zach Klonsinski | Thursday, October 8, 2015
Seconds before the final buzzer sounded, Irish sophomore forward Jeffrey Farina sent a strong header towards the corner of the net, but Michigan sophomore goaltender Evan Louro gathered the ball into his chest and hugged it as the clock expired.
It was a perfect microcosm of No. 7 Notre Dame’s night during a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night at Alumni Stadium.
The Irish (7-2-3, 2-1-1 ACC) controlled play after halftime, but couldn’t beat Louro on any of their scoring chances to come away with the victory over the rival Wolverines (5-2-3, 2-0-2 Big Ten).
“We made a lot of really good chances,” Irish head coach Bobby Clark said. “We came up against a very hot goalkeeper. Their goalkeeper came up with several fantastic saves.
“That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Louro made several highlight-reel saves as the game wore on. Two came within one 30-second period off the foot of Irish senior midfielder Patrick Hodan, who led the Irish in scoring last season but has just a single goal this fall. The first Louro knocked away by stretching to his left. The ball was then sent into the box again, where Hodan one-timed it out of the air. Louro dove at full extension, this time to his right, and just got his fingertips on the ball to force it off the post.
“Their goalkeeper tonight had several outstanding saves,” Clark said. “Poor old Patrick Hodan has a hard time because even when he hits it now he hits crackers [off the post].”
Notre Dame was again bit by its recent string of slow starts, falling behind early on a goal in the 23rd minute by Michigan freshman midfielder Francis Atuahene. Atuahene received a pass and found himself with a lot of green space around him before firing a beautiful shot off the very base of the far post and ricocheting into the back of the net.
“We gave up a kind of soft goal,” Clark said. “We were our own worst enemies I thought early on in the game. We had critical turnovers.
“Actually right at the start of the game, two minutes into the game [Irish junior goalkeeper] Chris Hubbard had a great save” to bail the Irish out after one such turnover.
The Irish, however, found a response just two minutes before halftime, though, as graduate student defender Max Lachowecki sent a ball forward to freshman forward Thomas Ueland streaking in alone toward the Wolverine net. Ueland chipped the ball around the charging Louro into the back left corner of the net for his third goal of his freshman campaign.
“What a goal we did score,” Clark said. “The whole goal was a thing of beauty.”
Sophomore forward Jon Gallagher had the only real chance for either team in overtime outside of Farina’s desperation header, but his shot from 17 yards out at the start of the second 10-minute extra time period sailed well over the bar.
Clark said he was pleased with the response he saw from his team despite the slow start.
“There’s good character with this team,” Clark said. “If you’re going to win things, you’re going to have to handle setbacks. You don’t score five goals in every game. When we did go behind, it was disappointing, but the nice thing was there was still plenty of time in the game to get back into it.
“I thought in the overtimes we were the team that wanted to win the game.”
Notre Dame will next take to the pitch Saturday at noon as it welcomes ACC foe Duke to Alumni Stadium.