Irish clinch quarterfinals spot after double overtime postseason victory
Jimmy Ward | Wednesday, November 6, 2019
The Notre Dame men’s soccer team kicked off its post-season with a first round ACC Tournament matchup at home on Tuesday against Boston College.
Notre Dame (9-6-1, 3-5 ACC) was able to muster four shots on goal in the first 10 minutes of the match but missed every shot wide right. Despite getting off to a solid start, possessing the ball far more often than the Eagles (9-6-1, 2-4-2 ACC), the Irish gave up a goal in the 22nd minute when freshman Eagles forward Stefan Sigurdarson found the back of the net inside the low far post off of a shot from the top of the box 30 yards away. The goal did not come without controversy, as one of the referees appeared to get in the way of an Irish defender.
At the end of the first half, the Irish had double the amount of shots with eight to the Eagles four, but they were still down on the scoreboard 0-1. They were also up in corner kicks, with five compared to two from the Eagles. The Eagles had also given up 10 fouls, including two yellow cards, to the Irish’s five fouls.
The Irish had plenty of good chances on goal in the first half but failed to find the back of the net. Their closest chance came in the 35th minute, when Boston College sophomore goalkeeper Christian Garner punched the ball away after a cross, which ultimately found the foot of freshman midfielder Michael Pellegrino before his shot was blocked just wide of the post.
The second half — and, in fact, the whole game — was filled with slow, sloppy play, with possession being switched over many times as both teams failed at completing easy passes which would wind up out of bounds. The lackluster passes would continue throughout the match, but the Irish finally responded with a goal in the 62nd minute when senior midfielder Jack Casey sent a cross from outside the box to graduate student and captain forward Ian Aschieris. Aschieris headed it in sideways, inching the ball past Garner, for his first goal of the season to tie the game 1-1.
Another opportunity came for the Irish with just 10 minutes remaining in the second half when sophomore forward Jack Lynn had an open shot on goal, sneaking behind Boston College defenders, but his shot ended up right in the gut of Boston College goalkeeper Christian Garner. Lynn’s missed goal would have been a backbreaker for the Eagles as the match would end up heading into overtime with the score tied 1-1.
The first overtime would result in three shot opportunities for the Irish and just one for the Eagles, none of which would find the back of the net. The match would go into a second 10 minute overtime and just two minutes into the second overtime Boston College fired a shot into their own goal which resulted in an Irish victory. Irish head coach Chad Riley spoke after the game about the exciting win.
“We’re feeling good, I think we always knew kind of a mid-afternoon kickoff would be interesting,” Riley said. “I think BC is in a good run of form, they’re very difficult to play against. And I did — I think they made the game tough for us. Obviously they got a goal, pretty special goal, to take the lead and we missed a couple in the first half, but I’m really proud of the way the group just stayed focused on trying to find the solution for the game; and it took us into the second overtime, but we found it.”
With the win over Boston College, Notre Dame clinched a spot in the quarterfinals against Clemson. Being the No. 1 ranked team in the ACC and the No. 2 team in the country, the Tigers received a bye in the tournament and will hold home field advantage in the match. Riley spoke about how his team needs to prepare heading into the Tigers’s house this weekend.
“Anytime you go away from home and play a good team, you know you’re going to have to be organized without the ball,” Riley said. “You’re going to have to be good defensively against them. And I do think they score a lot of goals but teams score goals against them as well, so I think it’s going to be a combination of a good defensive performance with an opportunistic attack.”
The Irish will head to South Carolina this weekend for the ACC quarterfinal matchup against Clemson. The match will kickoff at 7 p.m. on Sunday at Historic Riggs Field and will be broadcast live by the ACC Network.