Gallagher leads Irish past Eagles in ACC opener
Joe Everett | Monday, September 11, 2017
Held scoreless over the first three games of Notre Dame’s 2017 campaign, senior forward and tri-captain Jon Gallagher made up for lost time in a big way this weekend.
The defending ACC offensive player of the year exploded to tally his first career collegiate hat trick, lifting No. 6 Notre Dame past Boston College, 3-1 on Friday at Newton Soccer Field.
The Irish (4-0-0, 1-0-0 ACC) improved to 4-0-1 in ACC openers with Friday’s victory over the Eagles, (2-3-0, 0-1-0 ACC), and created chances from start to finish. In the third minute, Gallagher slammed a shot towards the left post that was turned away by Boston College freshman goalkeeper Antonio Chavez Borrelli. Undeterred, Gallagher again found a genuine chance in the 30th minute when he bent a right-foot try toward the left post on a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box, but Borrelli dove to make another save and keep the game scoreless heading into halftime.
However, in the second half, Gallagher would no longer be denied. After Boston College received a yellow card on a hard foul against senior midfielder Blake Towns gave the Irish another free kick just outside the 18-yard box, Gallagher finally capitalized, ripping a pinpoint shot in the upper right corner for his first goal of the year, giving the Irish a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute.
After the Irish squandered additional scoring opportunities, the tri-captain put another in the back of the net when a well-placed cross from junior defender Sean Dedrick found Gallagher at the back post, who calmly headed it in to stretch the Irish lead to two at 73:57.
While Boston College jumped on the scoreboard in the 81st minute off a header from freshman midfielder Beto Luna, the Irish quickly responded, as Gallagher capped off his night with an almost identical free kick that he once again tucked into the upper right corner of the net, giving the Notre Dame the eventual winning margin of 3-1. Irish head coach Bobby Clark commented on what he saw from the team, especially Gallagher, during its win over BC.
“We played well, and the whole team had a good performance,” Clark said. “It was nice to get Jon going — he’s been working on [free kicks] all summer. One day it’s [senior forward] Jeff Farina scoring for us and the next day it’s Jon, so it’s always good to see the forwards scoring the ball.”
With the win, the Irish have now won back-to-back road games over fierce rivals UConn and Boston College. Since four of Notre Dame’s six remaining road games come against teams currently ranked in the top 15, head coach Bobby Clark knows that the Irish will have to continue to be road warriors, but acknowledged that the team will take it one game at a time.
“That’s what you’re going to have to do if you want to be successful,” Clark said. “We have a lot of tough games coming up, so hopefully we can continue to come into the other teams home and play calm and collected, especially at points in the game where we don’t feel we’re that into the game. We talk a lot about teams who can dominate the ball offensively, but you can also dominate it defensively. Getting our guys to understand that they can control the game without controlling the ball is important, and they’re improving. But there are many games still to go, and a lot of work to be done.”
The Irish return home this weekend to host North Carolina State for their 2017 ACC home opener. The Friday match will start at 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Stadium.