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Russo pulls off hat trick against Michigan on Senior Night 

Michigan versus Notre Dame — you would be hard pressed to name a rivalry more classic than this one. The Irish entered this special Senior Night matchup Tuesday leading Michigan 14-3-4 all time in the series. Their last meeting was last year in Ann Arbor where Notre Dame won 3-1. 

The Irish came into the match with some momentum, fresh off two straight wins against University of Illinois Chicago and Virginia Tech. 

The game started slowly. Weather and field conditions were definitely a factor for the players. Slipping and sliding occurred much more frequently than normal due to the wet turf. The weather, however, did not keep fans away. !uite a number showed up to support the four seniors. 

Sophomore forward Matthew Roou had the Irish’s only shot on goal in the first half; however, it hit the goal post and bounced away. Nicholas Kaloukian, freshman forward for the Wolverines, scored the only goal of the half giving the now 4-9-3 Wolverines an early edge on the Irish. He was assisted by Cameron Martin. With five minutes left in the half, senior defender Reese Mayer received a yellow card, the only penalty thus far.

The Irish bounced back early in the second half with junior forward Daniel Russo drilling an unassisted striker into the back of the net without goalkeeper Ethan Wood laying a finger on it. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, this victory was short lived. A few minutes later, Michigan forward Christian Pulselli scored, assisted by freshman Nick Cassiday. With seven minutes left to go, Russo scored again off the assist from Roou to even the game up. Then, less than two minutes later, the same two paired up for another goal to give the Irish the lead. This was Russo’s first hat trick and the first for Notre Dame this season. The final score was 3-2 Notre Dame. 

For a slow start, the second half was a thriller. The Irish fans who endured the rain echoed throughout the stadium. 

After the game, Russo was excited about the result and grateful to be out there playing with his teammates. 

“There’s just something about Michigan that gets me fired up I guess,” Russo said, “Last year, I had two assists. This year, three goals, but I couldn’t have done it without the guys.”

Head coach Chad Riley offered similar thoughts on cohesion of this team, particularly the older players. 

“They have been through a lot, competing in Covid, all the stuff [that everyone had to do]. I think they set the tone for how close our team is and how much fun they have being together,” he said. 

Midfielders PJ Bujouves and Ethan O’Brien and defenders Aaron Hill, Reese Mayer, and graduate student Mo Williams all played their final regular season game in Alumni Stadium (and potentially their last game ever), unless the Irish host a match in the post season. After facing Pitt next week, the Irish will enter the ACC tournament to try and fight for a spot to compete for the national title. 

This week, the Irish will travel east to play at Pitt in their final regular season game. The 7-3-4 Panthers most recently beat Virginia Tech and Duquesne, while their game last week against Duke ended in a draw.

Notre Dame will look to build on what they’ve accomplished as a team to get a win Friday Night.

Contact Annika Herko at aherko@nd.edu

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Sports

Irish look to start strong in conference play

Notre Dame men’s soccer will begin conference play this weekend with a top-25 matchup against No. 24 Syracuse this Saturday. The No. 22 Irish will enter the contest at 1-1-1 following a closely contested 1-1 draw against DePaul at Alumni Stadium this week.

The Orange have got off to a blistering start with 3 wins in their first four contests and outscoring opponents 9-1 in those four games. Notre Dame’s defense will have its hands full with sophomore forward Nathan Opoku and senior forward Levonte Johnson, who was on the 2022 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. The Hermann Trophy is given to the top men’s and women’s college soccer player each year. In particular, Opoku has had a blistering start to the season, leading the team with two goals and two assists in his first four games.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame has underperformed to start this season. Following their College Cup appearance last year, they’re winless in their first two home games, both against unranked, non-conference opposition. Their only win came away from home, where they nearly squandered a 3-0 lead against Michigan State but held on to win 3-2.

On Tuesday night, they needed a late equalizer at home against DePaul to avoid another home loss. Head coach Chad Riley spoke on how they can take the resilience they showed on Tuesday night into their matchup with Syracuse.

“I think the biggest thing tonight was the mentality,” said Riley. “The tide was against us, but the guys kept fighting back and eventually got the tying goal and had chances to win it. So, we’re taking positives from the mentality-side of that.”

This will be the first meeting between the two schools since 2020 when Notre Dame beat Syracuse 1-0 at Alumni Stadium. The Irish lead the all-time series 15-3-2.