Hodan goal leads Notre Dame over Northwestern
Kit Loughran | Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The rainy skies cleared up just in time for an Irish victory last night.
No. 11 Notre Dame beat No. 19 Northwestern, 1-0, Tuesday at Alumni Stadium. The Irish (7-3-2, 3-1-1 ACC) won off a penalty kick from junior midfielder Patrick Hodan in the 66th minute.
The win marks Irish coach Bobby Clark’s first win against the Wildcats (6-2-4, 1-1-2 Big Ten) during his 14-year tenure at Notre Dame.
“That was a difficult midweek game when you think of midterms going on, and the guys are pretty busy, and to come out here and get a result from a team that has only lost once,” Clark said. “They are a very good team, [and] that’s actually the first time I have ever beaten Northwestern in my times playing them.
“I knew it was going to be difficult, and their coach Tim Lenahan does a really good job and has them well prepared.”
The first half ended in a scoreless draw. Graduate student senior Leon Brown took Notre Dame’s first shot on goal just wide of the left post in the seventh minute. The Wildcats responded with a direct shot on goal by junior forward Joey Calistri, but graduate student goalkeeper Patrick Wall made the save. Hodan had a first-half scoring opportunity when he ricocheted the ball off the cross bar on a corner kick.
Notre Dame’s next best opportunity to score surfaced with senior forward Vince Cicciarelli’s series of runs, starting in the 27th minute. A diving header initiated his first chance at scoring, which he followed with two subsequent shots on goal in the next two minutes.
“I thought Vince was terrific in the first half,” Clark said. “Vince had three great chances, great runs by him and great passes. The only thing for Vince is, it would be nice if he finished one of these, and it would take a little pressure off … but it was great he was making the runs, and it is great we are finding him.”
After a back-and-forth play in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, Notre Dame substituted freshman forward Jon Gallagher in for Brown in 60th minute. Six minutes later, Northwestern sophomore defender Nathan Dearth took Gallagher down in the box.
Hodan took the penalty kick and netted it in the bottom right corner to put the Irish up, 1-0. Hodan has tallied three goals in the past three games for the Irish, with a total of four on the season.
“I thought we moved the ball pretty well [tonight],” Hodan said. “We created some chances, and we just found open space. We’ve been playing well these past few games, and we’ve been finding ways to win, which is important come tournament time.”
Despite a close Northwestern shot in the last 10 seconds of play, the Irish held the Wildcats at bay, 1-0.
Overall, Notre Dame outshot the Wildcats, 15-5, and led in shots on goal, 4-2. Clark said even though the Irish attack slowed following Hodan’s goal, the attack showed a strong performance throughout the match.
“I thought Leon played well. … He’s got so much experience, [and] it’s really very helpful,” Clark said. “Then, Jon came on, and he drew the penalty for the goal. In a funny way, all the strikers contributed to some extent throughout the game.”
The Irish defense stood its ground as well. Wall made two saves to post his fifth shutout of the season.
“It was good for the defense to get a shutout,” Clark said. “Pat wasn’t overworked, but when he was called on, he had a vital save right at the death. These are the shots on the ground that can sometimes slip in. [The shutout] was good for Pat and the whole defense.”
Now on a two-game winning streak, the Irish head to Durham, North Carolina, to take on Duke on Friday at 8 p.m.