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Notre Dame shuts out Michigan State on the road

| Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Irish shut out Michigan State to rebound from a two-game losing streak Tuesday night at the DeMartin Soccer Complex.

No. 14 Notre Dame (5-2-1) took to the net right away to shut out the Spartans, 4-0. Michigan State (3-3-1) and Notre Dame had 12 shots each, but the Irish managed seven shots on goal to the Spartan’s four.

“It definitely is nice to get another shut out and get back our confidence defensively, which will hopefully continue to grow,” senior tri-captain and midfielder Patrick Hodan said.

The Irish scored the game-winning goal less than 90 seconds into the match. Sophomore forward Jon Gallagher brought the ball down the left side, delivering a cross toward graduate student tri-captain and defender Max Lachowecki in the middle of the field. Lachowecki lunged for a diving header and directed the ball into the right corner of the net, putting the Irish up, 1-0.

Lachowecki’s goal marks the second fastest goal to start a game by Notre Dame since 1995.

“It was one of our best performances of the year,” Hodan said. “The most important thing was that we set the tone early and played smartly.”

Irish senior midfielder Evan Panken dribbles around an Xavier defender in Notre Dame’s 1-0 loss to Xavier on Sept. 15. Panken tied for the Irish lead with three shots during the contest. MACKENZI MARINOVICH
Irish senior midfielder Evan Panken dribbles around an Xavier defender in Notre Dame’s 1-0 loss to Xavier on Sept. 15. Panken tied for the Irish lead with three shots during the contest.

And the Irish continued to set the tone early. Just 13 minutes after Lachowecki, Gallagher found the back of the net himself to put the Irish up, 2-0. Senior defender Michael Shipp came down the right sideline to set a pass to Gallagher. Spartan senior goalkeeper Zach Bennett managed a save but Gallagher got the rebound to net his fifth goal of 2015.

In the 44th minute, freshman midfielder Thomas Ueland put the Irish up 3-0 before the half when he took senior tri-captain and midfielder Connor Klekota’s pass inside the far post.

It was a Michigan State error rather than the Irish attack that resulted in Notre Dame’s final goal of the contest. Spartans sophomore defender Brad Centala tried to push the ball out with a header but instead sent it flying inside the post, handing the Irish their fourth and final goal.

“We really didn’t change anything tactically,” Hodan said. “But we moved the ball much faster today.”

Though Hodan didn’t personally manage a goal, he consistently moved the ball throughout the match. Hodan almost had Notre Dame’s third goal in 37th minute when he maneuvered past Spartan defenders and opened a 50-yard run down the right side. His second opportunity came in the 70th minute but his shot was placed left wide.

With recent losses to Xavier, 1-0, and No. 2 North Carolina, 4-2, the Irish now prepare to face ACC rival No. 4 Virginia with a solid win under their belts. Last season, the Cavaliers knocked the Irish out of the Round Of 16 on Nov. 30 and later went on to win the 2014 NCAA title. The matchup marks the first battle between the two most recent College Cup champions, as the Irish won the NCAA title in 2013.

The former NCAA champions stand similarly statistically at this point in the 2015 season. The Irish slightly lead the Cavaliers with 1.75 average goals per game, compared to Virginia’s The 1.43. Both Notre Dame and Virginia average similar shots per game at 12.9 and 13.1, respectively.

“Virginia is a very good team and ended our season last year,” Hodan said. “We will have to be ready to go and ready to battle.”

No. 14 Notre Dame plays host to No. 4 Virginia at Alumni Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

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About Kit Loughran

My name is Kit Loughran, and I am a senior at the University of Notre Dame. I am a Marketing major and Journalism minor. I write for the Sports Department of The Observer and cover Men's Soccer, Lacrosse, and Golf.

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