ND Men’s Soccer
Notre Dame men’s soccer drops wild 4-3 contest with Michigan State, looks ahead to North Carolina State
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, September 17, 2021
On Tuesday night, the Notre Dame men’s soccer team suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 defeat to Michigan State, as the Irish saw a two-goal lead evaporate in the second half in front of a stunned Alumni Stadium.
Things started off well for the Irish as they struck first for a 1-0 lead just nine minutes in off a Matthew Roou opener. Just 10 minutes later though, the Spartans would level the score through the first goal in Farai Mutatu’s eventual hat trick.
The Irish surged forward after the equalizer to end the first half. Fullback Paddy Burns gave Notre Dame the lead in the 22nd minute with a nice transitional finish after a long run up from defense. Eno Nto added another to the home side’s tally before the break, as the freshman arced a beautiful curled shot over the outstretched arm of Michigan State goalie Lance McGrane into the far corner of the net.
But as much momentum as Notre Dame had to end the half, the Spartans hit back with even more in the second. Senior midfielder Jack Beck brought the visitors back within five minutes after the break, and Mutatu would add his second and Michigan State’s third off a feed from Beck to equalize once again.
This time though, the Irish wouldn’t be the ones to push in front. Mutatu would fire home his third of the day in the 73rd minute, latching onto a cross from Beck and lashing a superb finish into the back of the Notre Dame net to give the Spartans a 4-3 lead they wouldn’t look back on. Despite a flurry of late Irish chances and progressively more desperate attempts to find one last goal to force overtime, McGrane and the Michigan State defense held strong and headed back north to Lansing as victors.
The loss leaves Notre Dame at a 1-3-1 mark for the season heading into a clash with ACC foe North Carolina State on Friday.
The Wolfpack will travel north to Alumni with their eyes on conference standings, having dropped to 0-1 in ACC play early on with a tough 0-2 loss to No. 2 Clemson. The loss to the Tigers wasn’t North Carolina State’s first defeat to a ranked foe — they also dropped a 1-3 decision to No. 20 Seton Hall earlier in the season, and that pairing of defeats to quality teams marks the Wolfpack’s only losses on the year.
Freshman midfielder Luke Hille has led the way so far in Raleigh, chipping in a team high three goals (and six points) from midfield in just two games. In attack, the youth movement continues for the 4-2 Wolfpack, as Portuguese freshman Henrique Santos leads the team in assists (2) and has added a goal as well in his first six matches.
Catch the Wolfpack and Fighting Irish squaring off in an early and significant match of two ACC teams with high conference tournament ambitions tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET at Alumni Stadium. For those who can’t make the match in person, it will be broadcasted on the ACC Network.