Irish comeback for naught in Ann Arbor
Zach Klonsinski | Wednesday, October 8, 2014
After working hard to overcome a poor start, No. 6 Notre Dame fell Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to rival Michigan, 3-2.
Redshirt junior midfielder Colin McAtee recorded a hat trick for the Wolverines (3-5-2, 1-1-2 Big Ten), including the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute.
“They are a very tough team,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “They certainly made it difficult for us tonight.”
The Irish (5-3-2, 2-1-1 ACC) fell behind in the first half after McAtee headed in a corner kick in the 21st minute, then followed it up with his second goal from eight yards out less than a minute later. Michigan largely controlled play through most of the first half, outshooting the Irish, 9-7, in the period.
“Goals seem to come in clutches,” Clark said. “You go for a long period of no scoring, and then when one finally goes in, all of a sudden another one follows. They were two different types of goals, too.”However, Notre Dame made a push towards the end of the half to regain momentum, registering its first shot on goal in the 36th minute after junior midfielder Patrick Hodan fancily maneuvered around three Michigan defenders but was denied by Michigan freshman goalkeeper Evan Louro.
The momentum carried over into the second half for the Irish. In the 55th minute, junior midfielder Connor Klekota sent a corner kick sailing into the box, where sophomore defender Brandon Aubrey was able to head it on frame, yet Louro came up with another big stop for the Wolverines.
Notre Dame managed to finally find the back of the net in the 64th minute, when freshman forward Jeffrey Farina slammed home a pass from fellow freshman Jon Gallagher from 10 yards out to cut the deficit in half. It was the second goal of the season for Farina and the second time the two freshmen had combined for an Irish goal in their first season of college soccer.
“A nice thing for us was Jeffrey [Farina] got another goal,” Clark said. “He and Jon [Gallagher] came on at halftime and played the entire second half for us. Jon still needs to get a goal, but I thought he was going to get one tonight.”
Hodan followed up Farina’s goal only four minutes later, as he bent home a shot from 20 yards out just inside the far post to tie the game. The goal was Hodan’s second of the season after registering his first on a penalty kick against Virginia on Sept. 21.
The Irish had a chance to take the lead in the 78th minute when Klekota sent a long-range attempt on goal. Louro punched the shot into a dangerous area, but no Notre Dame players were around to take advantage of the rebound opportunity.
“We actually had a lot of momentum there, but then we kind of let it drop,” Clark said. “Our passes just didn’t seem to be finding people like they were before.”
One area the Wolverines dominated the Irish in was corner kicks. Michigan ended the night with a 21-4 advantage in the area, but it was the second-to-last one that meant the most. In the 83rd minute, Wolverines redshirt freshman midfielder Tyler Anderson sent the cross into the penalty box, where McAtee rose to meet it, directing it past Wall and into the net for the 3-2 lead.
“We let in two goals off of headers off of corner kicks,” Clark said. “That was disappointing because we really felt like we should be handling that. … They seemed to have a lot of corners, but we have the height to be able to handle them.
“It was a fairly even game. We did well to come back, two goals down and away from home. I thought we showed a lot of character tonight.”
The loss was the second consecutive one for Notre Dame, both of which came against unranked rivals — Boston College stunned the Irish on Friday, 1-0, at Alumni Stadium. The last time the Irish dropped two consecutive matches was in the fall of 2010, when they lost to Louisville in the Big East tournament semifinals and then were upset by Dartmouth at home in the second round of the NCAA tournament after earning a bye for the first round.
Notre Dame will look to put an end to the losing streak when they return to ACC play Friday at Alumni Stadium. The Irish welcome No. 18 Louisville for the game, set to begin at 7 p.m.