Gallagher, No. 7 Notre Dame top rival Wolverines
Michael Ivey | Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Thanks to a second-half offensive outburst, No. 7 Notre Dame claimed a 3-1 victory over No. 24 Michigan in a nonconference matchup Tuesday night at Alumni Stadium.
The first half was a battle of defenses. Michigan (7-4-2, 4-1-1 Big Ten) controlled the shot margin during the frame, recording five shots to Notre Dame’s two. Sophomore midfielder Jack Casey and senior forward Jon Gallagher recorded the two Irish shots during the first half. Notre Dame graduate student goalkeeper Chris Hubbard recorded two saves during the first 45 minutes, while Michigan sophomore goaltender Andrew Verdi made one save during the first half. Additionally, Michigan recorded one corner kick during the first frame, while Notre Dame didn’t have any (9-2-1, 3-1-1 ACC).
The Irish came out of halftime with a newfound energy, coming close to scoring multiple times during the first 10 minutes of the second half. Then, in the 56th minute, Notre Dame finally broke the deadlock when forward Jeff Farina buried a flicked pass into the back of the net to give the Irish a 1-0 lead and the senior forward his sixth goal of the season. Junior defender Felicien Dumas and Gallagher recorded assists on the goal. But in the 66th minute, the Wolverines responded with a goal of their own to tie the score at 1-1. After some back-and-forth play during the next 15 minutes, Gallagher scored a screamer from a tight angle in the 82nd minute after being let in on goal by Farina to give Notre Dame a late 2-1 lead. With the lead, the Irish controlled the final minutes, as shots by Farina and senior midfielders Blake Townes and Kyle Dedrick were either blocked or flew wide of the net. In the 89th minute, Gallagher was fouled in the box and Notre Dame was awarded a penalty shot. Gallagher subsequently converted his first-ever for his 10th goal of the season to seal the 3-1 victory for the Irish.
Notre Dame and Michigan tied for shots with 12 each, and while the Wolverines managed seven shots in the second half, Hubbard didn’t make any saves in the final 45 minutes. The senior forward duo of Gallagher and Farina carried the load offensively with a combined three goals and two assists, while Dumas added his team-leading sixth assist.
Irish head coach Bobby Clark had high praise for the Michigan team and thought his team struggled until the second half to play the game it wanted.
“I thought Michigan was a good team, and that is probably the best Michigan team I’ve seen in years,” Clark said. “They have got some very exciting players on their team. I thought we struggled to find the game for long periods of time, but I thought after they equalized — I thought that sparked us, and I thought we played very well during the last 20-25 minutes of the game. I was very pleased with the last 25 minutes. Also this is midterm week, so I think that has been taking its toll a little bit. We weren’t as sharp as we normally are.”
Clark said his team didn’t start playing the game he wanted them to play until about the 65th-70th minute.
“The last 25 minutes of the game, for me, was when we started playing well and started connecting on passes,” Clark said. “That was the time, for me, when we really connected and when we really controlled the game. Up until that point, I didn’t feel like we had control of the game to the extent that I would like. But you have to give credit to the opposition for that.”
Clark also had high praise for the two Irish goal-scorers on the night, Gallagher and Farina, as well as the rest of the team.
“Gallagher and Jeff Farina have been fantastic,” Clark said. “Jeff got the first goal, and Jon got two goals tonight. They’ve been fantastic. I can’t say enough about both of them, but I thought the team played well. I thought Blake Townes had an excellent game. I thought he and [junior defender] Sean Dedrick were very good. They all contributed to a very good result.”
Additionally, Clark said he was happy his team was able to get another win over a top-25 team.
“Michigan is a top-25 team,” he said. “To beat a top-25 team, these are tough games. These are excellent games, and a lot of good players are out there, so I’m very pleased with the result.”
The Irish will be back in action Friday when they host Pittsburgh in an ACC conference match at Alumni Stadium.
Clark said his team will get some rest before Friday’s match.
“We just have to get our legs back again,” Clark said. “During the season, when you are playing a Tuesday, Friday, [then] Tuesday, you just have to get the legs back. That is the hardest thing at the moment.”