No. 2 Irish remain undefeated with win over Wolfpack
Meagan Bens | Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Capitalizing on set pieces, No. 2 Notre Dame walked away with a 3-0 victory over North Carolina State on Friday night at Alumni Stadium.
During the ACC matchup, the first two goals were built up and finished off by the back line. Both came off of junior defender Felicien Dumas’ corner kicks, as graduate student defender Matt Habrowski headed a ball straight into the net at 30:15, and senior defender Patrick Berneski headed the ball off a bounce with 6:35 to spare in the half. Then, just when the period appeared over, senior forward Jeff Farina sent an overhead pass to senior forward Jon Gallagher, who outran both defenders and slotted the ball to the bottom right corner from inside the 18-yard box to give the Irish a 3-0 lead heading into halftime.
“I think one of the nice things for the team is that we worked really hard on corner kicks this week,” Irish head coach Bobby Clark said. “We had one session where we just finished them purely for 30 minutes. We had a double session where we just finished again because they haven’t been good, our corner kicks have been really disappointing in the previous games. So we really spent some time. Shows you if you work on things, it’ll work later in the game.”
Although the scoreboard displayed a clear win, the Wolfpack kept the Irish under pressure, according to Clark. Within the first seven minutes, NC State almost took a lead when freshman forward David Loera chipped the ball into the back of the net after a corner kick. The goal was discounted after officials deemed a player offsides during the corner kick.
Down three goals entering the second half, the Wolfpack ramped up their efforts to put points on the board, and finished with the same amount of shots as the Irish, 12-12, but graduate student and goalkeeper Chris Hubbard made three saves to force another shut out.
“It was kind of a funny game, we had spells of very good play and then we had ominous spells,” Clark said. “We will take the win, it’s a great win because they’re a tough team. I thought it was a game that was going to go right to the 90th minute. They were in it, the shots were pretty even. We needed another goal in the second half and that would have taken the pressure off of us, but we never got that. Even at 3-0 I was never completely comfortable, put it that way. I’ve been in this game a long while, anything can happen in soccer. Look how quickly [our goals] came, and they often come in little flurries, but we will take it.”
With the continual pressure on the team during the second half, Clark reiterated that his team will have to play in a lot of tough ACC and non-conference games.
“We had chances,” Clark said. “Their goalkeeper had a fantastic save from [sophomore midfielder] Jack [Casey] and there were a few other ones that I don’t know how they didn’t go in, but maybe that was good. It kept us honest. They put a second forward up and they became quite direct, so the game was charging back and forth. The ones that played, played very hard, they are going to need a good regeneration. And we will get the other guys ready and we have another game ahead. They’re coming up fast and furious now, with Tuesday against Bowling Green.”
No. 2 Notre Dame will return to Alumni Stadium on Tuesday to host No. 19 Bowling Green in a non-conference matchup at 7 p.m.