Irish top Cards in overtime
Alex Carson | Sunday, October 12, 2014
An overtime goal from junior midfielder Patrick Hodan gave No. 6 Notre Dame a 3-2 overtime conference win over No. 18 Louisville on Friday night at Alumni Stadium.The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Irish (6-3-2, 3-1-1 ACC) and kept the hosts tied at the top in the conference’s Coastal Division with Virginia.
Notre Dame went ahead within 15 minutes when senior forward Vince Cicciarelli headed home a shot from 10 yards out. Senior defender Luke Mishu ventured down the right flank and crossed for Cicciarelli who had an unmarked header to put the Irish 1-0 up.
“Both fullbacks were very good today at getting forward and it was a good cross [from Mishu],” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “Mishu and [senior defender] Max Lachowechi were both very good going forward and that’s part of how we play. They play almost like wingers.”
The Cardinals (5-5-1, 3-2-0) had their best chance of the first half midway through, when junior forward Ricardo Velazco got a one-on-one with Irish graduate student goalkeeper Patrick Wall. Velazco, however, fired straight at Wall for the easy save. The Irish goalkeeper made four saves on the night, three of them coming in the first half.
Louisville and Notre Dame traded chances for the next 45 minutes until the Cardinals were able to break through and equalize in the 67th minute.
On a corner kick, it appeared that Louisville was going to play the ball short, drawing out a pair of Irish defenders. However, junior midfielder Ben Strong played the ball to freshman defender Tim Kubel who was hanging five yards from the corner of the box. After taking a touch, Kubel struck the ball and left no chance for Wall, scoring an upper-90 rocket from 22 yards out to level the score.
“You know what, you concede goals,” Clark said. “[Kubel’s goal] was a fantastic shot.”
In the 72nd minute, Notre Dame claimed Louisville had committed a handball but was dismissed by the referee. The Irish followed this up with an 18-yard effort from Hodan saved in the 80th minute by Cardinal freshman goalkeeper Nick Jeffs before finally retaking the lead from a free kick in the 81st minute.Junior midfielder Connor Klekota — who had been credited an assist earlier on the Cicciarelli goal — played in the free kick from the left wing. The ball first got the head of sophomore defender Brandon Aubrey and bounced around a few more times in the box before graduate student defender Andrew O’Malley headed it home from the goal line to put the Irish back ahead, 2-1.
“We’ve got some big targets there,” Clark said. “We’ve got O’Malley and [freshman forward Jeffrey] Farina who would be in there and other guys and these are all people you can look for. A free kick out in the wide area, putting it into the box is a dangerous situation.”
Notre Dame, however, failed to kill off the last seven minutes, sending the contest to overtime.
With fewer than two minutes remaining in regulation, senior midfielder Will Vitalis got to the byline and played a cross into the heart of the box. Strong got his head to it on a quasi-diving header to beat Wall and tie it up, 2-2. The goal marked the second consecutive game Notre Dame has surrendered two goals.
“I don’t think we defended that particularly well but that’s just my instinct,” Clark said. “But [Louisville’s] a very good team.”
Notre Dame had one last chance to end it in regulation when the ball bounced around the box in the final minute. However, no Irish player was able to get a head or foot to it and overtime beckoned.
Jeffs thwarted Notre Dame’s first real chance of the extra period in the 97th minute when he saved a Klekota chance, before the Irish won the game just a minute later.
Mishu got the ball on the right and played it through for graduate student forward Leon Brown. Brown, in turn, played a through ball for freshman Jon Gallagher who, after initially failing to settle the ball on the first touch, found Hodan hanging in the corner of the box. The left-footed midfielder struck the ball with his right foot and tucked it inside the far post from 16 yards out to beat Jeffs.
“Jon played a great pass back,” Hodan said.
“[Hodan’s] just a good finisher,” Clark said. “His technique is good and he’s got a really good temperament, and I think that’s important. He doesn’t panic when he’s presented with an opportunity in the box. He’s got that calmness that good finishers have.”
The Irish do not have long to rest, however, as another top-25 opponent comes to Alumni Stadium on Tuesday. No. 24 Northwestern is 6-1-4 0n the year and 1-1-2 in the Big Ten.
“We just have to learn from our mistakes that we made today and be confident going forward,” Hodan said. “We’ve just got to take it one at a time.”
Northwestern and Notre Dame face off the Tuesday at Alumni Stadium at 7 p.m.