Irish scrape out the victory over visiting Boston College
Ryan Kolakowski | Monday, October 1, 2018
In the final match of a five-game homestand, Notre Dame clinched a home victory in a gritty, rain-drenched matchup against Boston College.
The No. 20 Irish (5-3-1, 2-1 ACC) downed the Eagles (2-3-3, 1-3 ACC) 1-0, posting a clean sheet before nearly 1,500 fans at Alumni Stadium.
The Eagles put together the first scoring threat early in the first half when they launched a low corner kick into the Notre Dame box, but the Irish defense cleared the ball out of play to end the threat.
Only two minutes later, an Irish counter pushed the ball into the Boston College box, but the Notre Dame attack was unable to generate a shot on goal and the Eagles sent the ball out of play.
After 15 minutes of scoreless play, the remaining sunlight gave way to overcast skies as heavy rain descended upon South Bend.
In the 20th minute, Irish graduate midfielder Blake Townes marched the ball toward the Eagles’ goal, but he got tangled up with a Boston College defender and was unable to break away for a scoring chance.
Minutes later, Irish senior Felicien Dumas sent a corner kick screaming into the box that was deflected by a Boston College defenseman. Notre Dame senior Thomas Ueland controlled the deflection and launched a shot from the 18-yard-box that soared just above the crossbar.
In the 29th minute, after several missed scoring opportunities for the Irish, freshman Jack Lynn entered the game for senior Ian Aschieris, and sophomore Paul Rothrock entered for Macleod. Just moments later, sophomore Aiden McFadden replaced Ueland on the pitch.
With under 10 minutes left in the first half, an Irish corner kick was deflected toward midfield. The Irish poked the ball back into play, and a headed shot by graduate student Patrick Berneski sailed wide of the net.
The pace of play began to pick up in the closing minutes of the first half as each side tried to grab the advantage before heading into the locker room at halftime. A reckless challenge from Dumas clipped Eagles junior Heidar Aegisson, giving Dumas the first yellow card of the match.
Much of the play in the first half of the game was contained to the middle third of the pitch. After a balanced and scoreless first half, the Irish have yet to allow a goal in the first half of any match this year. Dating back to last season, the Irish have not given up a goal in the first half of nine consecutive games.
“We started a lot of these games with a lot of veterans, so I think they know how to prepare themselves and how to start games with the right intensity,” Irish head coach Chad Riley said. “I think team defense is part of any team that really wants to win important games down the stretch of the season.”
Early in the second half, an Irish thru-ball from junior Jack Casey found McFadden just inside the 18-yard box, and McFadden flicked it past Boston College goalkeeper Antonio Chavez Borrelli for the first goal of the night.
Casey’s 11th career assist set up McFadden for his third goal of the season and his second in as many games.
“I think he always brings a lot of energy,” Riley said when addressing McFadden’s performance. “He’s kind of relentless in his runs without the ball and it was nice that someone found him, and he had a great one-time finish.”
McCabe sent a cross into the box that was then deflected toward midfield. MacLeod took control of the ball and took a shot on goal, but Eagles’ goalkeeper Chaves Borrelli managed a key stop while sprawled out on the grass in front of the net.
Boston College maintained possession in the Irish third of the field for several minutes, but the Irish broke the Eagles’ pressure with a swift counter. Lynn controlled a long pass downfield but shot just wide of the goal to miss the scoring chance.
A late challenge from Boston College defenseman Lasse Lehmann sent Ueland to the ground, earning Lehmann a red card in the 76th minute.
With only six minutes left in the match, Lynn controlled the ball into the Boston College 6-yard box and flicked it into the back of the net, but a handball call waived the goal off the board and kept the score at 1-0 in favor of the Irish.
The physical play and key calls defined the wet night in South Bend, but the Irish held the fort and emerged from Alumni Stadium with a two-game winning streak.
“Could we have scored another couple to make it look a little bit better? Maybe, at the same time, I think we knew it would be a battle,” Riley said. “I think the guys stood up to the challenge well. I think it’s always just important to me to win close games.”
On Tuesday, Notre Dame will travel to Evanston, Illinois for their first match away from home since Sept. 7 where the Irish take on the Northwestern Wildcats.