Irish Cap Off Regular Season With 1-0 Win At Pitt
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, October 29, 2018
No. 23 Notre Dame capped off its first regular season under head coach Chad Riley on Saturday with a 1-0 win at Pitt. The Irish finish the season with a 9-5-2 record and a 4-3-1 record in ACC play, good enough to secure the No. 5 seed in the ACC tournament.
It was a quiet opening to the match, as the first 45 minutes generated only one shot on target from both teams. In the 21st minute, Pitt freshman defender Nyk Sessock sent in a cross that was stopped by junior Irish goalkeeper Duncan Turnbull before sophomore Pitt forward Edward Kizza could connect and convert the chance.
The best first half opportunity for the Irish came in the 24th minute when a low cross from senior forward Sean MacLeod was almost deflected into the goal by a Pitt (7-10-0,2-6-0) defender, but went just wide of the post.
In the second half, Notre Dame found another opportunity on goal in the 61st minute when an Irish counter led to a shot from inside the box by junior midfielder Jack Casey. The shot was blocked however, and the game remained tied heading into the final half hour.
With the clock winding down, the Irish finally broke the deadlock in the 85th minute. After winning a free kick in the latter third of the field, MacLeod kicked the ball into the box. His pass was met by a Pitt defender who headed it into the center of the box, which was in turn deflected off another Pitt defender and fell to Notre Dame senior forward Thomas Ueland. Ueland took a first-touch shot that deflected off a defender and into the right side of the net, just past Pitt’s freshman goalkeeper Johan Penaranda.
With the goal, Ueland netted his sixth tally of the season — tied for the most on the team alongside fifth year defender Patrick Berneski — and his 14th career goal. The late game-winner for the Irish came from a set piece, a situation Notre Dame has thrived in this year, with 13 of the team’s 27 goals coming from spot kicks.
Notre Dame will now head into the first round of the ACC Tournament, facing Clemson on Wednesday night at Alumni Stadium.