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Notre Dame beats DePaul on Dumas’ last second goal

| Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Notre Dame came up with a last-minute win against DePaul on Tuesday night at Alumni stadium. The game was scoreless for nearly the entire match, until the Irish (5-3-1, 0-3 ACC) earned a free kick after a DePaul (4-5-1, 0-1-1 Big East) handball, and graduate student defender Felicien Dumas fired it into the back of the net with less than ten seconds left to give the Irish a 1-0 win. Head coach Chad Riley was happy with the exhilarating win.

“I don’t know if its excitement or relief, a little bit of both. As I told the guys, that is why you play to the end. You’ve got to believe that good things can happen at the end,” he said. 

Junya Kanemitsu
Freshman defender Mohammad Abualnadi evades defenders during Notre Dame’s 4-2 loss to Clemson on September 13.

Notre Dame came into the match looking for a strong performance after a controversial 1-0 loss to No. 3 Virginia Saturday morning. This was the 21st all-time matchup between the two teams. Notre Dame has commanded the series, with an all time record of 19-1. This game also comes with a familial rivalry; DePaul head coach Mark Plotkin and Notre Dame assistant coach Brian Plotkin are brothers. 

Notre Dame started the game with a good pace and made multiple runs down the field in the first 15 minutes, but it couldn’t get any shots on goal early, despite earning multiple corner kicks in the first 10 minutes. Sophomore forwards Tyler Shea and Jack Lynn both had good looks from just outside the box, but they both sailed well over the bar. Dumas also had a strong start to the match, crossing multiple balls into the box, but they were all headed away by DePaul. Dumas is known as a set-piece specialist, and on a free kick in the 16th minute he sent a curling shot on goal, but he was denied on an impressive save by DePaul goalkeeper Drew Nuelle.  

Then, in the 19th minute, the Irish appeared to have taken the lead on a goal by sophomore midfielder Mohamed Omar after sustained pressure from within 10 yards, but junior midfielder Aiden McFadden was ruled offsides to negate the goal. Less than two minutes later, Shea dribbled down the sideline and made a crowd-wooing pass to Lynn between the legs of a DePaul defender, but Lynn’s shot was blocked by a defender. 

DePaul’s defensive strategy in the first half appeared to be to pack the box with defenders and give Notre Dame plenty of space on the outside, which kept the Irish off the scoreboard, but it prevented DePaul from mounting any counterattacks off of Notre Dame turnovers, so Notre Dame dominated the possession and pace of the game, controlling the ball for 61% of the time, and the ball was in Notre Dame’s attacking half more than 70% of the first half. 

Riley credited DePaul’s defense, but also spoke to how close his team was to scoring in the first half.

“They got numbers well behind the ball, they’re well organized, they cover well for each other,” he said. “I think we could’ve moved the ball a little bit quicker and gotten around the outside a little bit faster, but I think we had a lot of good moments of crossing that just got cut out. We were inches away from some good chances in the first half.”

Notre Dame looked slightly less sharp in the last 10 minutes of the half, with more passes being intercepted, but DePaul still couldn’t string together any sort of attack, and the game went to break scoreless.

DePaul came out revitalized to start the second half, with multiple chances in the first few minutes, but Notre Dame defended them well. 

Omar had another strong chance in the 52nd minute, but the ball was deflected out of bounds by the defender. The Irish earned another free kick in the 56th minute, but Dumas’ shot was just over the bar. 

Notre Dame senior goalkeeper Duncan Turnbull was not busy for most of the match. DePaul only took two shots, none of which were target, but Turnbull almost made a costly error when DePaul sent a long free kick into the box, and he bobbled the ball but was eventually able to pounce on it. Then, just two minutes later DePaul earned another free kick near midfield and nearly scored, but Notre Dame was able to head it out of the box. 

DePaul did not take its first shot of the game until the 70th minute, but it was well wide. The Irish gave DePaul quite a few chances in the second half, committing four fouls in the DePaul half — all leading to free kicks — but were able to defend them effectively. 

Notre Dame picked up the intensity in the last 15 minutes. Lynn almost scored off a corner kick in the 77th minute, but Nuelle was able to dive on the low header. 

In the 84th minute, Dumas sent one into the box, and there was a scramble by both teams to secure the ball, but Notre Dame eventually sent a shot over the bar. The last five minutes of regulation were increasingly frantic, until Dumas’ goal at the buzzer. Despite the last minute win, Riley was thrilled with the team’s performance.

“It was probably our most dominant performance of the year,” he said. “We want [strong defensive performances] to always be there,” he said. “The reality is, we play good teams, and they’re going to stretch our defense, but I do feel like we are starting to get some consistency with some healthy bodies back there, we’re understanding each other, and it’s the mindset of the entire team — from the striker all the way back to the goalkeeper — that we know we have to be great defensively to be able to do what we want to do.” 

The Irish return to ACC play on the road vs. North Carolina State on Friday.

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