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Notre Dame men’s soccer downs Wolfpack 1-0, prepare for showdown with Michigan

| Monday, September 20, 2021

Friday night Notre Dame men’s soccer picked up their first conference victory, taking down the North Carolina State Wolfpack 1-0 at Alumni Stadium.

It was a tense match, with both teams splitting possession and each getting a fair share of chances to take the lead. But it was the Irish who buried their last chance when it mattered most, with graduate student forward Dawson McCartney receiving sophomore forward Daniel Russo’s pass across the face of the net and firing into the back of the net with a clinical finish. McCartney is now second on the Irish roster with seven points, with two goals and an assist on the year.

Notre Dame’s sophomore goalkeeper Bryan Dowd was only forced into one save on the day, but the Irish net and defense were kept plenty busy by North Carolina State’s attack squad. Led by junior forward Kuda Muskwe, who took a team-high three shots and NC State’s only shot on goal, the Wolfpack made sure the general contest was as close as the one goal scoreline indicated. Still, the Dowd and the Irish defense held strong and came out with a clean sheet.

The match did finish with a flourish of action, as some last-gasp time-wasting efforts by Notre Dame as the final seconds ticked off the clock were not taken kindly to by the Wolfpack squad. This led to a small confrontation after the final whistle. But ultimately, aside from some general trash talk lobbed in both directions, there was little actual fighting that occurred in the ensuing post-match cluster.

Notre Dame will now hit the road for their third Big Ten showdown of the season, as they head up to Ann Arbor on Tuesday to square off with the Wolverines.

The Blue and Yellow are 3-3-1 on the year, but similar to the Irish, their record is somewhat deceiving. Like Notre Dame, Michigan loaded up their schedule with ranked matchups to test their side, and their three losses have all come to top twenty-five opponents (0-1 to No. 24 Duke, 0-1 to No. 12 New Hampshire, 1-2 to No. 8 Maryland).

Leading the Wolverines will be their towering 6-foot-6 center back Jackson Ragen, who already has posted five goals on the season in just seven games. A dominating force in the air, Ragen will likely give the Notre Dame defense all they can handle on set pieces. Graduate student Marc Ybarra and senior Kevin Buca should also factor in as key pieces in the Michigan midfield, with the former posting two goals and six assists and the latter three goals and three assists on the season. Freshman forward Matthew Roou will lead the way for the Irish attack, as the team’s leading scorer with three goals.

Catch the Irish taking on the Wolverines on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in what will be Notre Dame’s final power five out of conference match of the season. The match will be broadcasted on ESPNU.

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