Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame men’s soccer falls to North Carolina in regular season finale

Notre Dame men’s soccer dropped the final game of their regular season Friday, falling to North Carolina 3-1 in Chapel Hill.

It was a particularly rough game for the Irish, who just needed a win, as well as a Clemson win (which indeed would occur after Notre Dame had already been defeated) to seal the overall number one seed in the ACC tournament for the first time since 2014. But instead it was the Tar Heels that exploded out of the gates, scoring two goals in the first two minutes of the match.

First it was Tega Ikoba to find the back of the net, nodding home a cross from Milo Garvanian with a simple close range header into the bottom corner of the Irish net. Moments after the Irish kicked off after the goal, Ikoba burst down the wing, put in a cross with the outside of his boot and watched as Ken Bellini pushed a finish past Notre Dame sophomore goalie Bryan Dowd for his second goal contribution.

Things would get worse for the Irish right before halftime, as the Tar Heels’ Alex Rose put his name on the scoresheet with a goal of his own in the 42nd minute. Victor Olofsson picked up the ball near the halfway line and drove straight at the Notre Dame defense, eventually picking a pass out to Rose, who managed to sneak a shot across the face of the goal and just inside the far post.

Notre Dame did get a goal back in the second half by way of junior midfielder Ethan O’Brien, who tapped in an empty net finish as a result of some stellar build up play by senior forward Jack Lynn and sophomore forward Daniel Russo. The pairing played a nice one-two to put Lynn in on goal, and when Lynn’s shot was saved the ball fell right to O’Brien who slotted it home. Unfortunately, despite the Irish’s best efforts in the waning moments of the match, the O’Brien goal proved to only be a consolation, as the scoreline would end 3-1 in favor of the Tar Heels.

Up next for the Irish is the ACC tournament, which begins play Wednesday. The Irish will be facing North Carolina State, who will be making their second visit to Alumni Stadium after they lost to Notre Dame 1-0 in South Bend earlier this season. Freshman midfielder Luke Hille leads the way for the Wolfpack, having chipped in six goals and an assist on the season. He’s in red-hot form as well, having scored North Carolina State’s only goal in each of their last two matches. English senior Kuda Muskwe will likely spearhead the attack, with ten points to his name on the season. The Irish will be looking to recreate their September 17 clash with the Wolfpack, as Notre Dame walked away winners late behind graduate student Dawson McCartney’s 84th minute goal.

Notre Dame men’s soccer will take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack this Wednesday at Alumni Stadium at 7PM ET. The match will be broadcasted on the ACC Network.