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Men’s Soccer

Irish top Northwestern in overtime

| Wednesday, October 4, 2017

No. 7 Notre Dame battled out a 2-1 win in overtime against Northwestern on Tuesday night at Alumni Stadium.

Playing their second Big Ten opponent of the season, the Irish (7-2-1, 2-1-1 ACC) possessed the ball the majority of the game, but the Wildcats (2-9-0, 0-5-0 Big Ten) made all their chances count.

Irish senior forward Jon Gallagher dribbles across the field during Notre Dame's 2-1 overtime win on Tuesday at Alumni Stadium.Peter St. John | The Observer

Irish senior forward Jon Gallagher dribbles across the field during Notre Dame’s 2-1 overtime win on Tuesday at Alumni Stadium.

At the beginning of the first half, junior midfielder Thomas Ueland had a promising shot from the center of the box, but Wildcats junior goalie Robbie White made the save. Shortly after, senior forward Jeff Farina took a chance near the six-yard box that was deflected out of bounds. Despite keeping the ball in Northwestern’s half, freshman Wildcat midfielder Tommy Katsiyiannis made a left-footed shot 18 yards out that snuck past graduate student keeper Chris Hubbard.

For the remainder of the half, the Irish were unable to put a point on the board. Senior forward Jon Gallagher received a pass near the box, dribbled around White and put the ball into the net, but he was called offsides. As a result, Northwestern walked into the locker room with a 1-0 lead.

“Last year, we lost 2-1, and we dominated the game,” Irish head coach Bobby Clark said. “A year before, we dominated the game and tied 1-1. It was definitely a strange game. One thing you can’t do against them is concede a goal, because then they just hang on. And that’s what we did, it just came out of nothing. We played well in the first half. We were playing into the wind, playing really good soccer and the game was in their half. Then, they just get a goal out of nowhere and you’re 1-0 down.”

Coming out to redeem themselves during the second half, the Irish battled the Wildcats, as Northwestern put eight additional fouls on the board en route to a total of 11 for the day. Notre Dame only added two more fouls for a total of 3. Northwestern had a dangerous shot that sailed just over the crossbar, putting pressure on Notre Dame, but the remainder of the possession was in the Wildcats’ half, as the Irish continued to press their defense.

“I gave them the old ‘festina lente,’ hurry slowly,” Clark said. “That’s the old Latin proverb. I told them, ‘You got to hurry, but you have to keep composure.’ We didn’t get rattled. We showed positive body language throughout. We didn’t get frustrated, and we had to be persistent.”

After a sequence of corners, Irish junior midfielder Sean MacLeod delivered a cross back into the box, and junior defender Felicien Dumas headed the ball right into the net near the left post to bring the score to 1-1. For the rest of the play in regulation, Gallagher had a breakaway towards the goal but was tripped up by sophomore Wildcat defender Andrew McLeod, who was yellow carded.

Entering into overtime, Notre Dame’s persistence was rewarded with a goal in the 99th minute by Gallagher.

“They all stayed very positive,” Clark said. “You can’t feel down on your luck. They are a difficult team to play, but if you lose, even tie, from a [Rating Percentage Index] viewpoint, it wouldn’t have been a good one. It will be a completely different game against Clemson.”

The Irish will play Clemson in an ACC conference match Friday at Historic Riggs Field.

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