Irish look to start winning streak, prepare to host rival Eagles
Meagan Bens | Friday, September 28, 2018
No. 20 Notre Dame will face Boston College on its home turf Friday at 7 p.m. after using an offensive surge to defeat No. 22 Xavier 4-1 Tuesday night.
The Irish (4-3-1, 1-1-0 ACC) had their best attacking performance so far in the season against the Musketeers (3-1-4). Even though Xavier was a non-conference game, Irish head coach Chad Riley said the win — coming after three straight losses to No. 2 Indiana, No. 5 Michigan State and No. 3 North Carolina — was extra meaningful in terms of momentum.
The four goals are the most Notre Dame has scored during a single match. Scoring two goals in the first half with sophomore midfielder Aiden McFadden scoring off senior defender Felicien Dumas’ free kick and senior forward Thomas Ueland and graduate student midfielder Blake Townes moving past defenders in the box to slot one home, Notre Dame carried the momentum into the second half. Junior midfielder Jack Casey was able to find the ball off a chip to score and graduate student defender Patrick Berneski came in to head in a corner from Dumas to cap off the Irish scoring.
“We made it to the final phase in creating chances and we scored them,” Riley said. “We did a good job in previous games, but sometimes the crosses or runs were not good or even shot was off. We were in good spaces on the field and we did a good job finishing. Even if we didn’t finish, we made the keeper make saves. We were more clinical.”
The Irish continued their trend of not allowing a goal in the first half of play so far in this season.
“We have played against really good teams and they get chances,” Riley said. “We don’t dominant the game until the final whistle, but we are ready to play against very dangerous attacking teams and we keep them off the board a good amount. We are a good defensive team and we want to make that a trademark.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the Irish have scored ten of their fourteen goals in the second half, but that’s a commonality within college soccer according to Riley.
“It’s a common trend in evenly match teams,” Riley said. “Mentally and physically the game sets in later on and you see a lot of goals in the 55th minute and beyond cause legs go and limits are tested.”
Taking their momentum to the field against the Eagles (2-2-3, 1-2-0 ACC), Riley said the game will be a good match up.
“Boston College is good,” Riley said. “They beat Clemson, a good result in the league, and we’ve seen them before. “They’re a good team that has a striker who scores a lot of goals and we have to beware of him. They are dangerous on set pieces, a hardworking team, overall I’m excited to see how we compete against them tomorrow.”
The Eagles, looking to snap a two-game losing streak, will look to get back on track at Alumni Stadium, while the Irish aim to get a winning streak started. Kickoff is set for 7 pm.