Oct. 11, 2013
BLACKSBURG, Va. - It was better late than never for the Notre Dame men's soccer team as a goal from senior forward Harrison Shipp in the 90th minute gave the second-ranked Fighting Irish a 1-0 win over Virginia Tech on Friday evening in Atlantic Coast Conference action at Thompson Field.
Notre Dame (7-0-4, 4-0-3) controlled much of the match and produced the win to remain undefeated this season. The Fighting Irish outshot the Hokies 23-13, including 9-1 in shots on goal. The Irish earned 10 corner kicks compared to five for the hosts. Despite the stat sheet discrepancy, the game seemed like it was heading to overtime as both teams approached the 90th minute scoreless.
That is when Shipp delivered his latest heroics of the season. The senior captain possessed the ball when he had it temporarily deflected away by a Virginia Tech defender but he stuck with it and placed his shot past diving Hokie goalkeeper Kyle Renfro and into the lower right corner of the netting from 20 yards away for his third game-winning goal of the campaign. Shipp leads the Irish in goals (6) and assists (5) this season. He is the reigning ACC player of the week and College Soccer News national player of the week after notching a two-goal effort in last Saturday's 2-1 overtime win at Clemson.
"It was a really good goal from Harry," Irish head coach Bobby Clark said. "A couple of our main guys are injured, but Harry has been putting us on his back. He's not a big guy, but he has broad shoulders. It was a terrific goal from him tonight."
Notre Dame tested Renfro twice in the opening minutes of the match. Fighting Irish forward Vince Cicciarelli worked his way into the box in the third minute but his close-range shot was saved. Renfro was needed again less than a minute later to negate Luke Mishu's attempt from distance. The Irish held a 6-1 advantage in shots on goal in the first half in addition to earning four more corner kicks (8-4).
The Irish had four consecutive corner kicks midway through the opening half and nearly scored on three of the attempts, which all were delivered in by Shipp. Freshman midfielder Brandon Aubrey, who was making his first career start, had his header blocked by Virginia Tech's Alessandro Mion. Central defender Andrew O'Malley headed the next kick yet Mion was there once again to clear the ball off the line. The best look came on the final chance when central defender Grant Van De Casteele drilled a header on frame but Renfro sprawled out in the air to tip the ball away and keep the game scoreless.
"I felt that we dominated many parts of the game," Clark said. "It would have been nice if we could have gotten a goal earlier because I feel the game would have played out differently. The longer the game was tied the more excited Virginia Tech got. Full marks to them. They kept it close and it was a very nervous final 20 minutes.
"But a lot of credit also goes to our guys. They kept fighting and trying to win the game."
Notre Dame's first quality scoring chance of the second half came in the 68th minute when midfielder Danny Lojek hit the post with his shot that came from the top of the penalty box. Renfro saved an attempt from Cicciarelli in the 81st minute. Mion threatened for the Hokies (3-4-4, 1-2-4) in the 87th minute but placed his shot just wide.
Senior goalkeeper Patrick Wall made one save for Notre Dame to notch his fifth shutout of the season. Renfro finished with seven stops for Virginia Tech.
"Although he only needed one save, Pat Wall played really well," Clark said. "He is such a smart goalkeeper for us. He's almost like having a sweeper back there."
Notre Dame is tied with Maryland and Wake Forest atop the ACC standings. All three teams are 4-0-3 in league play.
The Fighting Irish are back in action Tuesday with a non-conference tilt against No. 13 Northwestern at Alumni Stadium. The match is slated for 7 p.m. (ET) and it can be seen live and for free on WatchND.tv.
October 11, 2013
#2 Notre Dame (7-0-4, 4-0-3) 0 1 - 1
Scoring: ND: Harrison Shipp (unassisted) 89:17
Shots: ND 15-8 - 23, VT 6-7 - 13
-- Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director