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ND Men’s Soccer

Irish fall to Cardinals 2-1 in ACC opener

| Monday, October 5, 2020

Despite constant offensive pressure throughout the afternoon, Notre Dame was unable to come away with a favorable result Saturday, losing 2-1 to Louisville at Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Stadium.

The loss puts the Irish (1-2, 0-1 ACC) behind in their hunt for a spot in the ACC Tournament at the end of the season. However, Notre Dame head coach Chad Riley believes that the team will be able to recover and build off of its encouraging performance.

I am very disappointed in the result but very proud of the team,” he said. “I thought we played excellent tonight and were unfortunate not to get a better result. This was a big step forward for us from a performance side, and unfortunately we just ran out of time.”

The match started with little offensive activity, as Notre Dame maintained the majority of possession but could not create opportunities going forward. An Irish turnover deep in their own half quickly changed the game though, as Louisville (1-2, 1-0 ACC) capitalized off the mistake with senior midfielder Elijah Amo knocking in a cross near the back post to take a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.

Following the goal, Notre Dame worked to turn things around with three substitutions in the 25th minute. Junior midfielder Ben Giacobello immediately got involved for the Irish, heading a powerful shot on goal off a cross from senior midfielder Townsend Meyer, but Cardinals redshirt senior keeper Jake Gelnovatch was able to make the save.

The Irish were finally able to break through with a goal from another one of their substitutes, junior Jack Lynn, in the 35th minute. After a free kick from junior Patrick Coleman bounced around the penalty area, junior defender Philip Quinton flicked the ball over his head towards the endline. Senior midfielder Aiden McFadden then chased down the loose ball and sent a cross towards an unmarked Lynn for a thundering header to tie the match 1-1.

The game stayed level for the remainder of the first half, but the Cardinals took advantage of another Irish mistake early in the second half to regain the lead. Freshman defender Paddy Burns dragged down Louisville forward Pedro Fonseca in the box in the 51st minute, and Fonseca converted from the penalty spot to put the Cardinals up 2-1.

Junya Kanemitsu | The Observer
Irish sophomore midfielder Michael Pellegrino winds up for a kick during Notre Dame’s 4-2 victory over Seattle on Sept. 6, 2019, at home.

After falling behind once again, the Irish dialed up the pressure and pressed Louisville up the field in order to secure the game-tying goal. Lynn had a great opportunity in the 66th minute to get his second goal of the game, but his header from the edge of the six-yard box sailed wide left. Three minutes later, the Irish had another golden chance to tie things up, as sophomore midfielder Michael Pellegrino hit a half volley near the penalty spot off a cross from Burns that appeared destined for the upper corner. However, Pellegrino’s shot soared over the top of the net and kept the Irish behind.

The Irish continued to threaten the Cardinals for the rest of the game, outshooting them 8-0 in the final 25 minutes with numerous chances coming inside Louisville’s penalty area. Notre Dame was unable to put away any of these opportunities though, resulting in a 2-1 win for the Cardinals at home.

Although the outcome was not what the Irish hoped for, Riley is confident the team can fight back from its 0-1 start to ACC play, especially with strong leadership all over the field. 

“Our leadership was excellent, and we showed a lot of mental strength in our response to their two moments that led to goals,” he said, “Our leaders did an excellent job today.”

Riley praised his team for keeping their heads up after their defensive errors and a questionable penalty call, and he thinks that mental toughness will be vital going forward in their remaining ACC games.

Notre Dame’s next matchup will be at 1 p.m. next Sunday, Oct. 11, as the Irish return to Alumni Stadium for their first home ACC game of the season against Syracuse.

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