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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

Men’s soccer posts first victory of the season in freshman-dominated game

It was a freshman-dominated game Monday night as Notre Dame men’s soccer posted their first victory of the season against NIU. Newcomers Eno Nto and Matthew Roou both found the net to start off their Notre Dame careers, contributing to the 2-0 shutout for the Irish.

The first half was full of close calls for the Huskies as Notre Dame senior forward Jack Lynn put himself in position to score the first goal of the night. Though none of his attempts added points to the Irish scoreboard, Head Coach Chad Riley commented on the impressive playmaking that was conducted by the team.

“I’m really proud of the way the group handled it,” Riley said. “We created some really quality chances.”

Nto was the one to eventually evade the goalie as he took advantage of a corner, putting the Irish up 1-0. Notre Dame kept the lead heading into halftime, and it would be another twenty minutes into the second half until the Irish would make a run again. After relatively uneventful play, with neither side being able to get close to a score, a succession of one-touch passes culminated in an assist from senior midfielder Ben Giacobello to secure Roou’s first career goal. Riley remarked on the freshman talent that was exhibited in the gameplay.

“They continue to do what we know they can do,” Riley said of Nto and Roou. “They are good attacking players, but they also help us on both sides of the ball, so it was nice to see them get rewarded with a couple goals.” 

It looked as though Notre Dame would make it 3-0 in the final moments of the game, but two goals were all the Huskies would allow as the Irish finished with the clean slate.

“It was a good win,” Riley said of the shutout. “We knew Northern Illinois was going to be a tough game.”

Though the offensive play secured the victory, it was the defense that was the quiet constant for the team. Sophomore goalkeeper Bryan Dowd posted five saves over the course of the game, and Riley mentioned how the group aided in denying NIU any chance at a goal in the second half.

“Defending is always a team thing,” Riley said. “It starts from the two strikers all the way through the goalkeeper, and we did a good job of that.”