In the latest installment of the Holy War, Men’s soccer fell to No.6 Notre Dame, 3-1, to begin ACC play at Newton Soccer Field. Conservative tactics and stout defense early on was later met by a flurry of chances that saw the Irish topple Boston College on Friday evening.
Offensively, it was a tale of two halves. An energy-filled first fifteen minutes saw numerous tackles, fouls, and resulting free kicks with little to show for it. With both sides coming out in a safe, reactionary style of offense, the first half of the game precipitated in just one total shot on goal. The ball constantly flew around the middle third of the field with both teams attempting to build up some form of offensive rhythm, but the backlines of both Notre Dame (4-0-0) and Boston College (2-3-0) held strong.
However, just under five minutes into the second half, ND’s senior captain Jon Gallagher broke the scoreless tie with a laser into the back of the net. A hard foul by BC’s Len Zeugner with 40:56 left to play culminated in a free kick from just a few yards off the penalty area that Gallagher hooked into the top corner of the far goal post.
Boston College responded by pressing with its back line of defense in order to create some type of offensive opportunity or Irish mistake. With about 33 minutes to play, a flurry of corner kicks and crosses pounded the Notre Dame defense, but the tall defensive backs stymied any opportunity for a solid header.
A strong Notre Dame counter-attack with about 16 minutes to go seemed to suck the momentum out of the Eagles. The Irish’s Sean Dedrick crossed a ball that found Gallagher’s head on the other end, pushing the Irish lead up to 2-0. However, as the crowd began to file out of the stands, one last BC push up the sideline by Younes Boudadi sent a cross flying into the six yard box. Freshman Beto Luna connected with the ball, sending a header flying into the net for his first career goal. Suddenly, the Eagles had a glimmer of hope.
Yet, before the PA announcer could even announce Luna’s goal, Notre Dame’s Gallagher sent another free kick into the net with just under seven minutes remaining. The curving kick strikingly resembled his first score of the day, giving the reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Year a hat trick and sealing Boston College’s fate.
The Eagles are now 4-7-1 in the all-time series against Notre Dame. Next Friday, BC travels down to South Carolina to take on the No.3 Clemson in an attempt to end its current three-game drought.