Aug. 21, 2017
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A bevy of shots early for the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team finally found the mark in the 2017 exhibition finale on Monday night. Goals from tri-captain Jon Gallagher, John Rea and Ian Aschieris vaulted the No. 10 Irish to a 3-0 win over Valparaiso during the annual Grassroot Soccer game on a picturesque evening at Alumni Stadium.
After applying the pressure early, Notre Dame broke through for the first goal of the night in the 15th minute. Kyle Dedrick gathered in possession to the left of the Valparaiso goal and flung a perfect drop pass out front to Gallagher. Gallagher buried the feed with his left foot inside the right post for the 1-0 lead at 14:28.
Stellar saves the remainder of the half from Valparaiso goalkeeper Nacho Miras, including the denial of a handful of great looks from Gallagher on the step, sent the game to the break with Notre Dame in front 1-0.
Notre Dame began re-asserting control of the game with strong play from the young attackers Rea and Aschieris, both of whom entered in the 60th minute to team up alongside freshmen wing players Aiden McFadden and Paul Rothrock. The next Irish goal belonged to Rea, who headed a great pass by Felicien Dumas from the left flank into the back of the net at the right post for the 2-0 Notre Dame edge at 76:34.
Aschieris finished off the day’s scoring in the 83rd minute. A nice give-and-go pass from Rea in traffic cleared Aschieris toward the Valparaiso frame deep in the Crusader defensive third. Aschieris delivered on the feed and drove the ball across the goal into the left netting for the final Notre Dame tally at 82:20.
Notre Dame officially kicks off the 2017 regular season on Friday during the first day of the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament at Alumni Stadium. The Irish face San Diego at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on Friday, following the conclusion of Indiana and Cal Poly at 5 p.m.
Play of the GameNotre Dame peppered the Valparaiso goal in the opening 15 minutes before finally breaking through on the scoreboard. A Kyle Dedrick to Jon Gallagher connection, one of Gallagher’s five shots on goal during the opening half, gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 14:28.
Turning PointThe Irish attempted the first nine shots of the game over the first 10 minutes before Valparaiso found the shot column. Notre Dame ultimately outshot the Crusaders 18-2 for the remainder of the evening.
Notre Dame Head Coach Bobby ClarkThoughts on the complete effort to close the preseason…
“The results in the scrimmages always matter at the time, but you ultimately get nothing for them. We’re back to 0-0-0, no wins, losses or ties. We did win all three games this preseason with nine goals in the process, so if we can keep that average going throughout the year I will be very happy. Good young players came on, and I thought Ian Aschieris was outstanding during his time on. He’s gotten his confidence coming back following an injury during the spring a few years back. We tried to have a look at some of the younger players to make decisions in terms of redshirts, who we can use. The old faithful players also all did well too, so I think we got a lot of what we wanted out of the game.”
Carrying the preseason momentum ahead into the 2017 regular season…
“To keep it rolling is the goal, being back to 0-0-0 at the moment. In the preseason games, you obviously want to win them and also see what the team is going to look like, and I think we’ve gotten a good idea. There’s still a long way to go, it’s not a sprint it’s a marathon. We just have to take it one game at a time.”
Note of the GameNotre Dame improved to 12-0-4 (.875) in home fall exhibition games since 2001, and finished the 2017 preseason with a 9-1 aggregate goal advantage during 90-minute contests.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men's soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.