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ND Men’s Soccer

Irish men’s soccer kick off season with 1-1 draw against No. 2 Indiana

| Friday, August 25, 2023

Junior Paddy Burns of Northern Ireland prepares to kick the ball in a men’s soccer match against North Carolina on Sept. 24, 2022.Zachary Llorens | The Observer
Junior Paddy Burns of Northern Ireland prepares to kick the ball in a men’s soccer match against North Carolina on Sept. 24, 2022. Credit: Ryan Vigilante

Notre Dame men’s soccer opened up the season with a tie on Thursday night, drawing Indiana 1-1 in South Bend.

It was senior captain Paddy Burns who opened the scoring for the Irish, a 24th-minute header off a free kick from sophomore midfielder KK Baffour.

The lead would prove to be short lived, however. Just minutes later, Indiana leveled things up, as their freshman forward Collins Oduro beat senior goalkeeper Bryan Dowd at his near post with a clinical finish. 

After each team landed their first punches, the game proved a little more tense. Both teams would have chances throughout the remainder of the first half and in the second half, but neither could land the decisive blow. Indiana accumulated more of said chances — they outshot Notre Dame 17-9 in the game.

But it was the Irish who left with a sour taste in their mouths after they notched the final chance of the match. A flurry of last-ditch forays into Indiana’s box tested the nerves of the Hoosier contingent at Alumni Stadium, but Indiana goalkeeper JT Harms kept his goalmouth clear.

The strong effort sets the Irish up for what figures to be a slightly easier stretch of matches moving forward. A draw with one of the nation’s top teams secured, Notre Dame will stay at home for their next three out-of-conference tests. They will tangle with IUPUI, Northern Illinois and Detroit Mercy over the next two weeks.

After the game, Irish head coach Chad Riley said he was pleased with his team’s showing:

“I think Indiana’s a good team, and we knew it would be a good game,” Riley said. “Especially with the conditions tonight. I was really proud of our mentality tonight, I thought we showed a lot of toughness. A lot of commitment. Any time you push and are maybe the stronger team in the second half, I think that shows a lot about your group.”

Riley also discussed the value in playing a team of Indiana’s quality — currently ranked No. 2 in the nation — in Notre Dame’s first match of the season:

“I think it’s one of the reasons we like doing [the yearly match],” said Riley. “Any team is going to pose a challenge, but I think Indiana has been the standard for a long time in college soccer. We want to be in that argument with them. So it’s great to open up the year with them and see where we are.”

Notre Dame men’s soccer will be back in action on Sunday at 7 p.m., hosting IUPUI at Alumni Stadium.

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About J.J. Post

J.J. Post is a senior in Fisher Hall. Hailing from Mountainside, New Jersey, he's currently working his way towards being the nation's foremost expert on college soccer. Whether via the button below or his overly active Twitter (@JayJayPost), feel free to reach out and talk about Notre Dame soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, baseball or softball. Or any other Notre Dame sport you can think of. Odds are he watches it as well.

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