Irish earn first ACC win over Syracuse, 3-2
Meagan Bens | Monday, September 10, 2018
Notre Dame scored its first ACC victory of the season with a 3-2 victory over Syracuse on the road Friday to remain undefeated.
All the goals were scored during the second half of the game. Fifth-year defender Patrick Berneski, senior forward Thomas Ueland and senior defender Felicien Dumas each scored a goal to overcome the Orange (2-2-0, 0-0-1 ACC).
Neither Notre Dame (3-0-1, 1-0-0 ACC) or Syracuse were able to capitalize on the two shots each had on target during the first half. The game remained scoreless until Notre Dame came back refueled after halftime.
“Up on the road against a quality opponent, 0-0 is a good spot to be in after the first half,” Irish head coach Chad Riley said. “We made adjustments and we had 45 minutes to win the game and do some things we needed to fix defensively. And the guys just came back out focused and energetic.”
Taking the Irish’s first corner, Dumas floated a cross towards the near post and Berneski, surrounded by three defenders, was able to get a head on the ball to send it past the keeper for the first goal.
“We score a mixture of goals, generally speaking from run of play and from set pieces,” Riley said. “You need to have a balance to win, and we also know that set pieces are going to be the key to winning college soccer games.”
Notre Dame added to their lead six minutes later when Ueland picked up the ball right outside the box. Syracuse cleared Dumas’ free kick, but the ball ended up at Ueland’s left foot which sent the ball just under the bar and over the hands of the keeper, putting the Irish ahead 2-0 in the 59th minute.
The Orange crept back in the game after a penalty kick. Freshman midfielder Mohamed Omar was called for a hand ball after a challenge that resulted in the ball popping up and hitting his arm. Syracuse converted the penalty kick to bring the score to 2-1.
Just ten minutes later, the Irish extended their lead to 3-1 when Dumas stepped up to take a free kick in the 76th minute. His kick soared over the wall of Syracuse defenders, bending into the top right corner for his first goal of the season.
“Feli [Dumas] is great on both sides of the ball,” Riley said. “There are not many people who can shoot a set piece like him. He had a really good game over all and he also dealt with a very direct team and handled their long balls.”
In an attempt to get back into the game, the Orange sent attackers down the field to put pressure on the defense and found a chance to slip a ball into the net. In the 84th minute Syracuse was able to score its second goal, but Notre Dame held out the rest of the match for the final score of 3-2.
“Anytime we win we are excited, and we’re happy to start off like this,” Riley said. “[The] only way we can be successful is to take it a day at a time. We have a few hours to enjoy this win. The team is good at doing that and then mentally moving on to prepare ourselves for the next match.”