Oct. 28, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After 90 minutes of play, the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team and North Carolina needed extra time to settle their final Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season match of the year on Friday. In the end, the No. 12 Irish and No. 3 Tar Heels finished locked in a 0-0 draw on Senior Night at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame (10-5-2, 3-3-2 ACC) recognized its 10-member senior class and senior manager Brendan Fraleigh prior to the start of the match, and played inspired throughout the contest. The Irish outshot North Carolina (11-2-3, 5-1-2 ACC) 18-14 on the night, including a 14-8 margin in the second half and both overtime periods.
In a matchup that was short on scoring chances over the first 30 minutes, Notre Dame’s Blake Townes nearly broke through for a goal with a great run up the left flank in the 32nd minute. A lob service pass from across the pitch by tri-captain Michael Shipp found Townes cutting to the left post, but his sliding flick service just carried wide.
Despite the near Notre Dame goal by Townes, North Carolina carried a 6-4 shots lead into the second half. The Tar Heels looked to break through in the 65th minute when Nico Melo dribbled toward the right post on a narrow run. Melo’s shot, which was drifting outer post, caromed off the iron and out of danger.
Notre Dame made one final run at victory in regulation time thanks to skillful offensive play in the North Carolina third in the 86th minute. Townes again drove hard to the Tar Heels 18-yard box and was able to guide a pass to Jon Gallagher up the right wing, but Gallagher’s shot was blocked back by North Carolina. A service across the field once the Irish regained possession found tri-captain Evan Panken unmarked inside the left post from 10 yards out, but Panken’s volley header rang off the right post and thwarted the Notre Dame scoring chance.
After neither team attempted a shot during the first overtime period, Notre Dame was the aggressive team looking to score over the final 10 minutes. Shots from Jeffrey Farina in the 102nd minute, Gallagher in the 105th minute and Tommy McCabe in the 110th minute could not find the back of the net.
Notre Dame will host a first round match in the ACC Championship on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. (ET) inside Alumni Stadium. The final Irish tournament seed and first round opponent will be determined following Saturday’s contest pitting North Carolina State against Boston College.
Play of the Game
Working his way into the North Carolina 18-yard box in the 68th minute, Jon Gallagher left a tempting drop pass behind for tri-captain Evan Panken to the left of the Tar Heels goal. Panken connected on a running left-footed shot that barely sailed over the crossbar to keep the match scoreless.
After North Carolina’s Nico Melo hit the right post in the 65th minute, Notre Dame proceeded to hold the Tar Heels to only five shot attempts the remainder of the contest. Only one of those tries was not blocked by the Irish defense.
Stat of the Game
Notre Dame limited North Carolina, who attempted four corner kicks during the first half alone, to only a single corner attempt in the second half and no tries in either overtime period.
Note of the Game
Notre Dame remained unbeaten in three matches all-time against North Carolina at Alumni Stadium. The teams battled to a 1-1 draw in 2013 before the Irish shut out the Tar Heels by a 2-0 score the following season.