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Men’s Soccer

Irish outlast Wolverines in penalty kicks to advance to Round of 16

| Monday, November 19, 2018

The seventh-ranked Irish defeated the University of Michigan in the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame (11-6-4) bested the Wolverines (12-6-4) in penalty kicks to advance to the next round of the College Cup.

Connery McFadden | The Observer

Irish senior defender Felicien Dumas looks for an opening in the defense during Notre Dame’s 2-1 double-overtime loss to Indiana on Sept. 11 at Alumni Stadium.

As the game started, the Irish appeared to be in control. After a shot in the first minute that sailed over the goal, Michigan was unable to gain consistent possession of the ball for a five-minute period as the Notre Dame defense passed the ball, looking for an opening.

However, the Irish could not move the ball through the Wolverines on the ground, so head coach Chad Riley said he had his team find other ways past the defense.

“You just need to see where the space is,” said Riley. “Michigan was compact and made it difficult for us to really break them down through them, so we tried to use some of the space over and around them.”

Despite the adjustment, the team was unable to find the back of the net even with several attempts off of corner kicks and free kicks. Things then turned in favor of Michigan when Irish senior midfielder Thomas Ueland went down with an injury in the 34th minute of the first half. From that point on, the Wolverines kept the ball in Notre Dame’s territory until the intermission.

Without Ueland, the team’s co-leader in goals scored, the Irish offense struggled to find opportunities. It became clear they would need other answers when he exited for the final time in the 56th minute after reaggravating his injury.

That answer came from junior goalkeeper Duncan Turnbull, who was critical in the second half. Turnbull put his 6-foot 7-inch frame to use as he consistently towered over the opposition, making key catches on dangerous corners.

“I think [Turnbull]’s great. He’s playing really well,” Riley said. “That’s one of his strengths, is to be able to take the corners that are in his area. He can come out and get them pretty comfortably. I think he had a really solid game.”

It was not just the goalkeeper however, as the defense stepped up and cleared the ball at crucial points, especially freshman defender Philip Quinton. Turnbull had praise for the effort his teammates put forth to protect the net.

“I just know the rest of the guys in front of me are going to do my job [for me]. If I can come and get it I will but … we work on set pieces all the time, work on crosses; I know they’re gonna do their job and it’s gonna be easy on me,” Turnbull said.

The junior’s play would become even more important as the game progressed. Regulation ended in a 0-0 tie, forcing two sudden death overtime periods. Extra time was not enough to settle the score, so the game went into a shootout. Michigan had never lost in a penalty shootout in program’s history, but Turnbull said that he had confidence in his teammates, which took the pressure off of him.

“I know [the offense is] going to do their job,” said Turnbull. “I told them before the shootout, ‘you guys put ‘em away, I’ll do the rest,’ and that’s what happened. They did their job amazingly, scored the goals, and I just had to pull out a save, and that’s what happened. Huge win for us.”

In the penalty stage, Michigan went first, putting the pressure on the Irish with every goal scored. After both teams were tied 5-5, it became sudden death. Turnbull immediately stepped up with a huge save to give senior forward Ian Aschieris a chance to seal the game. However, Michigan’s goalie, sophomore Henry Mashburn, responded with a great save of his own.

From then on, the pressure again was placed on the Irish as one miss would cost them the game. However, on the 12th attempt by the Wolverines, Turnbull made another great save to give Notre Dame another chance, this time with senior defender Felicien Dumas at the helm.

“I think in a way [Turnbull’s save] gave me more confidence,” Dumas said. “Just knowing that ‘if I score this then it’s over, we win, we get to go home with a victory.’ So I walked out there knowing that, and I was just thinking to myself, ‘just put it in the corner and finish it off.’”

That’s exactly what happened, as Dumas put it right past Mashburn’s finger into the lower left corner of the goal before being mobbed by his teammates. The senior said as he went up to win the game, he was confident because it wasn’t a new experience for him.

“We practice this so much, so at this point it’s just like ‘remember my training, just go up there and do what I always do in practice,’ and I know that I’ll follow through and pull the team through,” Dumas said.

Aiming to advance to the quarterfinals, Notre Dame will play No. 10 Virginia this Sunday in Alumni Stadium in the NCAA Round of 16.

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