Irish dominate Hoosiers in top-10 showdown
Joe Everett | Wednesday, October 5, 2016
On a clear Tuesday evening inside Alumni Stadium, No. 2 Notre Dame took care of business on its home turf, beating No. 6 Indiana 4-0.
The goals came early and often for the Irish (9-1-0, 3-1-0 ACC), who quickly turned the top-10 matchup into a one-sided affair. Senior midfielder Oliver Harris got the scoring started for Notre Dame in the 13th minute, heading in a cross from junior midfielder Blake Townes from seven yards out to give the Irish a lead and net his first goal of the season. Junior forward Jon Gallagher then took over the offensive responsibilities, sending in a 20-yard deflected strike into goal in the 23rd minute. He then wasted no time padding the Irish advantage again as he capitalized on another assist from Townes one minute later to give the Irish a 3-0 edge, sending the crowd inside Alumni Stadium into an uproar.
Gallagher, who has provided a spark to the Irish offense by leading the team with 24 points due to his 10 goals and four assists on the year, said the team’s result was unexpected but added that he was proud of the way both the offense and defense played against the Hoosiers (6-1-4, 1-0-3 Big Ten), who came into the match having only given up five goals all season.
“I don’t think we expected to score [four goals], but we definitely knew we were capable … if we played to our strengths,” Gallagher said. “That’s what we did tonight, and thankfully we put four in the back of the net, but we also have to take pride in the clean sheet — our back line was very, very solid tonight — so we’ll take pride in that.”
Irish head coach Bobby Clark said he was impressed with Gallagher’s performance and the constant pressure he put on Indiana throughout the game, crediting both Gallagher and his teammates for the way in which they set him up.
“I thought they had a hard time handling Jon,” Clark said. “His speed and the quality of balls that were played to him were very good, but he was great.”
Irish senior defender Brandon Aubrey, in addition to his defensive efforts, scored Notre Dame’s fourth goal in the 71st minute with a six-yard header off a corner kick by graduate student midfielder Evan Panken, emphatically sealing the win for the Irish. Clark said it was a hard-fought battle against Indiana for all 90 minutes, despite what the scoreboard might otherwise indicate.
“It was a hard game,” Clark said. “The goals came and they fell for us, but it wasn’t an easy game. I think until the fourth goal went in, I didn’t really relax. … I thought Indiana opened better than us in the first 10 minutes, [but] once we got the goal I thought we settled in … but it was a hard game, and it hasn’t changed my opinion of Indiana — they’re a very good team.”
Notre Dame will next take the pitch Saturday at 7 p.m. when it hosts No. 11 Wake Forest at Alumni Stadium. The Irish have preached training their eyes to look forward and to focus on the next game, but they also took some time to reflect on the season so far and what it’s meant after the big win, according to Gallagher.
“It’s been very special for the team,” Gallagher said. “I try to put in my shift. I try to work as hard as I can and give everything to the team. I worked really, really hard in the offseason and so did the entire squad, and it’s paying off so far, but we need to focus on Saturday now and keep rolling.”