Notre Dame picks up another conference win versus Pittsburgh
Manuel De Jesus | Monday, October 3, 2016
Despite the rain, No. 2 Notre Dame won its second straight ACC game, triumphing 2-0 over Pittsburgh behind junior forward Jon Gallagher’s two goals at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Friday night.
The Irish (8-1-0, 3-1-0 ACC) were not only dominant on offense, taking 11 shots to Pittsburgh’s (2-6-2, 0-3-1) three, but they were also stifling on defense holding Pittsburgh to zero shots attempted in the first half of the contest. Notre Dame also out-kicked Pittsburgh on corner kicks 10-3.
“Our defense did well again on Friday to hold Pitt to a shutout,” Irish senior forward Mark Gormley said. “We are lucky to have an experienced back line this year, and I think their success has a lot to do with maintaining shape and their tenacity and work ethic around the box.
“I know they work a lot on these two things in practice and it is nice to see it translating in games. On one instance where we did not get pressure to the ball, [senior goal keeper Chris] Hubbard made a great save to keep us ahead.”
The first goal of the game came in the 22nd minute when junior midfielder Black Townes crossed the ball over to Gallagher who put the ball in the back left corner of the net. The Irish came out into the second half with a 1-0 advantage, and the defense held on against the Panthers. Hubbard saved all three of Pittsburgh’s shot attempts on goal, including a close shot near the right post, which helped secure his fifth shutout of the season. Freshman midfielder Luca Mellor, the Panthers’ leading scorer, took all three of their shots in the game.
Gallagher’s second goal came in the 87th minute when Townes lobbed a pass towards Gallagher in open space. He sprinted past the defense and was left alone against the Panther goalkeeper. Gallagher finished the play by shooting the ball towards the upper-right corner of the goal to put the Irish up 2-0. Gallagher’s two goals pushes his total to eight this season, which puts him atop the leader board for goals in the ACC.
“Jon is definitely a constant offensive threat,” Gormley said. “Even when the momentum is in the opposition’s favor, Jon’s speed provides an immediate outlet and a chance at transition. He has obviously been finishing well, too, which is great to see.”
Notre Dame has won 14 straight games over Pittsburgh, and the woes continue for the Panthers, as they have now lost yet another conference game. The Panthers have yet to win a game in the ACC since becoming a member in 2013 and have lost every conference game dating back to the 2010 season.
Halfway through the season, the Irish have just one loss, and they are hoping to continue riding their momentum into the second half of the season and into the ACC championship tournament.
“We take confidence in our preparation, and I think the hard work has paid off,” Gormley said. “Our record reflects what we have done in the past, and it is important that we continue to focus on how we can improve as we move forward this season.”
With the win, the Irish are one point behind North Carolina in the ACC Coastal division. Their next challenge will be at home against a familiar foe.
“[Indiana] is always a huge rival of ours, and they’re a very strong team this year,” Gormley said. “I think we are all excited for this game, and although there might not be as many fans for this midweek game, I do not think intensity will be an issue. It is important against a team of IU’s caliber that we remain calm and retain control of the game even when we don’t have possession.”
The Irish will host the Hoosiers on Tuesday at Alumni Stadium at 7 p.m.