Sept. 17, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame men's soccer team began Tuesday finding out they are the new No. 1 in the Soccer America poll and they finished the day living up to the ranking by topping Michigan 3-0 at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame (3-0-2) needed two saves from senior goalkeeper Patrick Wall in the opening minute, but once the Irish got the ball on their end of the pitch they converted on their first shot of the match. The attempt came from senior forward Harrison Shipp in the fourth minute when dribbled around the Wolverine defense and tucked his shot into the lower left corner of the netting from 10 yards away for his first goal of the season.
Shipp nearly produced a second goal in the 13th minute when he put a free kick on frame from 25 yards out, but Michigan goalkeeper Adam Grinwis made a diving save to negate the chance. Wall, who tied a career high with eight saves on the night, saved a James Murphy shot in the 17th minute to keep the Irish in front.
The Fighting Irish went up 2-0 in the 25th minute as right back Luke Mishu sent a cross over from the endline and Grinwis deflected it, but sophomore midfielder Evan Panken was able to head it home for his second goal of the campaign and Notre Dame led 2-0 at halftime.
"It was a funny game because we got goals and made some chances, but I thought that was perhaps our poorest playing display of the year so far," Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. "You have to give Michigan credit for that. They kept in the game even though they lost goals. We were a little disappointed because we know when we play well."
Notre Dame's Patrick Hodan threatened early in the second half as he drilled a free kick off the crossbar. In the 69th minute, Hodan, a sophomore midfielder, blasted a shot on goal that Grinwis saved. The Michigan (1-2-2) goalkeeper finished with five saves.
Notre Dame put the game away in the 82nd minute when Shipp played the ball ahead to fellow senior forward Leon Brown, who put it past Grinwis and into the lower right corner of the net for his team-leading fourth goal of the season.
The Irish outshot the Wolverines 19-12 and both teams had eight shots on goal. Michigan earned six corner kicks, while Notre Dame had three. Wall picked up his third clean sheet of the season. He and the Irish defense have allowed just two goals all season long and they currently have a scoreless streak of 272:27.
"Having great guys like Max Lachowecki, Andrew O'Malley, Grant Van De Casteele and Luke Mishu in front of me makes my job so much easier," Wall said. "Those guys deserve all the credit for us only giving up two goals so far this season."
The No. 1 ranking is the first for the Fighting Irish in either the Soccer America or National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) polls. However, Notre Dame was the No. 1 overall seed for the 2012 NCAA Championship.
"It puts a big target on your back because everybody is always excited to play the No. 1 team," Clark said about the team's No. 1 ranking. "If we're going to be good, which I think we can be, we have to handle that. That's part of growing as a team."
The Fighting Irish return to Atlantic Coast Conference play Saturday at Boston College. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. (ET) at Newton Campus Field in Newton, Mass.
Alumni Stadium Notre Dame, Ind.
Michigan (1-2-2) 0 0 - 0
Shots: UM 7-5 - 12, ND 7-12 - 19