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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame men's soccer dispatches Detroit Mercy, extends winning streak to three

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Irish senior goalkeeper Bryan Dowd looks ahead during Notre Dame's 1-1 draw with Indiana at Alumni Stadium on Aug. 24, 2023.
Irish senior goalkeeper Bryan Dowd looks ahead during Notre Dame's 1-1 draw with Indiana at Alumni Stadium on Aug. 24, 2023.


Notre Dame men’s soccer picked up their third consecutive win Tuesday, topping Detroit Mercy 1-0 at Alumni Stadium.

Junior forward Matthew Roou’s first-half goal — his fifth in three matches — held for the full 90 minutes. But it wasn’t for a lack of challenge from Detroit Mercy.

Entering the contest on the back of a 6-0 thrashing from Marquette, the Titans didn’t back down from the 20th-ranked Irish. Playing a high line that Notre Dame couldn’t seem to figure out, Detroit Mercy forced six offside calls.

After the match, head coach Chad Riley gave credit to the Titans, saying their winless record wasn’t indicative of their ability.

“Some of the games they’ve lost they’ve out-possessed [their opposition],” Riley said. “They’ve had equal shots. Their Marquette game was 2-0 until the 85th minute. We knew they had some quality, so [their play] didn’t surprise us.”

In the end though, senior goalkeeper Bryan Dowd and the Irish backline held firm on the defensive side, helping Notre Dame notch their seventh consecutive half without conceding a goal. Despite a late surge of offense, Detroit Mercy ended the match with just one shot on target.

Dowd said the hustle and effort from Irish players has played a big role in the teams’ early defensive success.

“So thankful for my backline and how hard they’ve worked this year,” Dowd said. “The team as a whole, getting back, blocking a cross on the endline with ten seconds left … kind of a good testament to everyone wanting to work, wanting to defend. Super thankful for them, they make my job super easy.”

Notre Dame’s strong backline will face a tough test this weekend, though, as a highly touted Clemson side arrives in South Bend. The Tigers were picked by many as a preseason favorite in the ACC and all but certainly will savor the chance to start off conference play on the right foot. They’ll enter on strong form as well, having won their last two matches by a combined 8-0 scoreline.

Riley, though, is pleased with where his team stands heading into the contest. Stressing a one-game-at-a-time approach, the former Irish standout emphasized taking something from every game his team plays in the season’s early stages.

“I think winning takes winning habits,” Riley said. “And the guys are doing a good job of having those habits. Now we’ll learn from it and try to grow for a game on Saturday.”

The Clemson match is the second-to-last game Notre Dame plays in a six-match season-opening homestand. Thus far the Irish have impressed at Alumni, earning a draw against a highly ranked Indiana side and winning out otherwise. 

But all of those wins have come against non-conference opposition. A victory against Clemson will allow the Irish to start strong on a potential ACC title push.

Notre Dame men’s soccer will be back in action at Alumni Stadium against Clemson this Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be broadcasted on the ACC Network.

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