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ND Men’s Soccer

ND men’s soccer shuts out Clemson on the road

| Monday, October 11, 2021

The Notre Dame men’s soccer team recorded a huge ACC victory by upsetting ninth-ranked Clemson by a score of 2-0 on the road on Saturday, Oct. 9. It is the fourth win in a row for the Irish (7-4-1, 3-1-1 ACC) and their sixth win in their last seven games.

Notre Dame was on the defensive for the majority of the first half, as the Tigers (9-3, 3-2 ACC) outshot the Irish 8-2 in the first 45 minutes. Notre Dame sophomore goalkeeper Bryan Dowd was called on early and often to make big saves, and he delivered time and time again. He made a spectacular diving save in the 29th minute to preserve the scoreless tie and was ultimately responsible for the level score line at halftime.

Whatever head coach Chad Riley said at halftime worked. Notre Dame came out looking like a completely different team offensively, nearly scoring in the first minute of second-half action. Freshman forward Matthew Roou hit the crossbar just 38 seconds into the second half, but that would not be the last time the Irish heard from Roou in this match.

Continuing Notre Dame’s recent scoring dominance on set pieces, sophomore forward Daniel Russo fired home a goal off a corner kick to open the scoring in the 64th minute. Senior midfielder Mohammed Omar redirected freshman defender Kyle Genebacher’s corner kick towards Russo, and he did the rest.

Just over 20 minutes later, Roou once again hit the woodwork, but this time the ball found the back of the net after glancing off the post. The Irish defense was able to solidify the win and keep a quality Clemson attack off the scoresheet for the entire 90 minutes. This ability to close games is something with which Coach Riley is very pleased.

“We’ve just cleaned up some of the details of the game — closing out games when we’ve had the lead — I think has been a big thing,” Riley said. “I think it’s been a pretty natural progression for the team with just taking care of some of the details a little bit better over the last few games.”

The win was a big one for the Irish, vaulting them into a two-way tie for third in the ACC Coastal Division. Notre Dame and Virginia Tech sit at 3-1-1 in conference play, just behind Duke and Pitt, who are 4-1 in the ACC.

Coach Riley told UND that he was “[v]ery proud of the team tonight. Clemson is a very good team and we did what we had to do to win and credit to the guys they competed at a very high level. We were a little tentative in the first half but were solid. In the second half, we came out much more aggressive and earned the victory away from home.”

Notre Dame will look to keep their four-game winning streak alive when they host No. 13 Pitt at Alumni Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 16. Given that the Irish are just behind the Panthers in the ACC Coastal standings, it will be a massive game for seeding as the ACC Tournament approaches.

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