Irish prepare to host Pitt in first round of ACC tourney
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, November 1, 2017
No. 21 Notre Dame will host Pittsburgh on Wednesday at 7p.m. for its first-round action in the ACC championship.
The No. 7 seed Irish (9-5-2, 3-3-2 ACC) have won their four previous ACC first round and quarterfinal games at Alumni Stadium. No. 10 seed Pittsburgh (8-9-0, 2-6-0) has yet to win its first ACC tournament match after being in the tournament for the second-straight season.
Notre Dame remains in the national top-10 in the ratings percentage index, ranked 10th in rankings’ fifth edition. As of Oct. 30, the Irish have faced the hardest schedule in the entire NCAA in Division I men’s soccer.
Entering the match Wednesday, the Irish are 9-5-2 overall, 3-3-2 in conference. Most recently, the Irish dropped a match to No. 3 North Carolina, 3-0, on Friday on the road. Pittsburgh will be arriving at the turf with an 8-9-0 record, 2-6-0 in conference. The Panthers most recently dropped a 3-0 decision to Virginia Tech. They also have a losing record — 3-4 — on the road coming into the matchup with the Irish at Alumni Stadium.
However, the Panthers earned a 1-0 upset win over Notre Dame on Oct. 13 at Alumni Stadium. Although Notre Dame outshot their opponent 17-9, Pittsburgh was able to claim its first victory on the Notre Dame campus since 2002. The Panthers have fallen in their three-straight games since the upset.
The Irish are going into the tournament led by senior forward Jon Gallagher, the squad’s leading scorer. Gallagher currently has 22 points on the year with 10 goals. He is followed closely by fellow senior forward Jeff Farina with 17 points. Graduate student Chris Hubbard leads the Irish in goal. He has 39 saves on the year, touting a 0.709 save percentage.
The Panthers are led by freshman forward Dexter Alexander and his 14 points. Alexander has scored six goals so far this season — including the lone goal in Pitt’s win over Notre Dame in October. Alexander is followed by freshman forward Edward Kizza and junior midfielder Javi Perez with 11 and 8 points, respectively. Redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Mikal Outcalt has done the majority of the Panthers’s goalkeeping this season. He has posted a 0.761 save percentage and tallied 67 saves this year.
Notre Dame and Pittsburgh will kick off at 7 p.m. tomorrow to begin the ACC tournament.