Irish top Cardinal, Golden Bears to continue hot start
Manuel De Jesus | Monday, September 5, 2016
No. 4 Notre Dame’s momentum from last weekend’s title win at the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament carried it to yet another tournament title at the IU Credit Union Classic.
The Irish (4-0-0) started the tournament off by defeating the defending NCAA national champions, No. 15 Stanford, in a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory Friday. The Sunday finale saw Notre Dame beat No. 22 California, 5-0, which allowed them to clinch the tournament title.
Friday’s thriller against the Cardinal (0-1-3) marked the second-straight game that senior defender Brandon Aubrey scored the game-winning goal. In the 104th minute of the match, Aubrey set himself up for a free kick 30 yards away from the net and hit a powerful right-footed strike that hit the crossbar and bounced just far enough inside of the goal to win the game for the Irish.
“[Stanford’s] goalie is a very good goal keeper,” Irish head coach Bobby Clark said. “He made a few really good saves prior to [Brandon’s goal], but he had no chance. It was a great shot.”
Stanford controlled most of the game — holding onto a 1-0 lead late into the second half — but the momentum shifted swiftly when Stanford sophomore defender Justin Kahl was given his second yellow card in the 70th minute, giving the Irish offense a personnel advantage. There was no time wasted on making the most of the opportunity, as junior forward Jon Gallagher tied the game up 1-1 in the 86th minute for his third goal of the season.
“I must say, I was very happy [with the result],” Clark said. “It wasn’t that tidy of a game. … Stanford is a very direct team getting the ball through the inside and pressuring you, so they’re not what I would call a smooth, silky soccer team, but they’re a very good team and very well organized.”
The Irish both outshot the Cardinal 13-3 and were able to get off three corner kicks in the second half and two overtime periods.
“Stanford is not an easy team to play,” Clark said. “I thought we struggled with it in the first half, but I thought the second half we got the grip of it. We had a couple of really good opportunities to score … and once they get the player sent off with 20 minutes left, we really took control of the game at that point.”
After giving Stanford its first loss of the season and earning three points, the Irish battled with the Golden Bears (1-2-1) for a chance to at least claim a share or win the tournament title. Indiana also had three points heading into Sunday after their 2-1 over California on Friday.
The Irish picked up right where they left off from Friday and tallied their first goal of the game in its first 38 seconds. Graduate student midfielder Evan Panken received a cross from Gallagher and placed it perfectly in the right corner of the net for his second goal of the year. 13 minutes later, senior goalie Chris Hubbard sent a kick over California’s defenders, and Gallagher sped past the defense to break away for a score past the right post.
But Notre Dame’s high-octane offense didn’t stop there.
Sophomore midfielder Thomas Ueland scored on a header from 15 yards out towards the right post in the 40th minute. At the end of the first half, Notre Dame held a commanding 3-0 lead. Then, in the second half, Ueland recorded his second goal of the game off an assist from Panken, and senior forward Mark Gormley scored his first goal of the season off an assist from Gallagher two yards in front of the goal.
“We were able to transition well, and we were able to pressure well in their half,” Clark said. “We came up with a big result, and it was a good game. Michael Casper, the assistant coach, his dad was at the game, and he said that it was the most entertaining 5-0 game he’s ever watched because they kept attacking and they were good. They were skillful, but we got the goals our way.”
The 5-0 victory over California gives the Irish 12 goals and three shutouts in their first four games of the season. After Indiana and Stanford played to a scoreless tie, the win also gave the Irish their second-consecutive tournament title. The four-game winning streak has surprised a few, including Clark, who didn’t think the Irish would be as dominant as they are now so early in the season.
“The team is coming together nicely,” Clark said. “If someone had said to me before the start of the season — with the caliber of teams we’ve played at both tournaments — that we’d be 4-0, I would have said ‘I would like to be, but most unlikely to win all four games.’”
Hoping to continue adding to the win column, the Irish will play their conference home opener this week when Virginia Tech visits Alumni Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m.