Men’s Soccer: Wildcats drop overtime thriller to No. 9 Notre Dame


(Daily file photo Kate Salvidio)

Robbie White prepares to make a save. The junior goalkeeper made five saves against No. 9 Notre Dame, but the Wildcats fell in overtime.

Ella Brockway, Reporter

Men’s Soccer

With four overtime matchups in the past five seasons, Northwestern’s contests against Notre Dame have consistently lived up to the hype. Tuesday night’s meeting in South Bend, Indiana, was no different.

The Wildcats (2-9-0, 0-5-0 Big Ten) scored their first goal midway through the first half and held the No. 9 Fighting Irish (7-2-1, 2-1-1 ACC) scoreless for 79 minutes before conceding a game-tying header, forcing the match into overtime. NU gave up the game-winning goal just minutes later in the extra period.

“We knew we were going to have to be tough in the box, and I thought we (were),” coach Tim Lenahan said. “A break here or there, (and) we get out of there with a 1-0 win. But like I said, I’m proud of our effort and our fight, proud of how we stuck to the game plan.”

The Cats’ offense struggled Tuesday, as it has throughout the season. NU managed just five shots over the course of the game, compared to Notre Dame’s 17. Five of the Fighting Irish’s scoring attempts came in about eight minutes of overtime action.

The Cats’ lone score came in the 36th minute on freshman midfielder Tommy Katsiyiannis’ deep, left-footed attempt from the outside of the box. Just three minutes after entering as a substitute, Katsiyiannis scored, giving NU its seventh goal of the season, and only its second first-half score this year. It was Katsiyiannis’ first career goal.

“As a team, as we play more and more together we’ll get better chemistry and be able to find areas to attack better,” Katsiyiannis said. “Once we get forward more with the chemistry, we’ll maybe find more shots and hopefully convert them.”

The Cats defense stepped up for a majority of the game, holding Notre Dame’s leading scorer Jon Gallagher both scoreless and shotless until the final 20 minutes. With a slight lead, NU conservatively stacked the box with nearly all 11 players, containing the Fighting Irish’s offense for much of the second half.

The defense began to feel the Irish’s offensive pressure in the 79th minute, when Notre Dame subbed on midfielder Sean MacLeod and won back-to-back corner kicks. MacLeod’s cross from the right side set up Fighting Irish defender Felicien Dumas’ header to tie the game in the 80th minute.

The game-tying goal was followed by a controversial yellow card on sophomore defender Andrew McLeod, NU’s fourth booking of the game. The sequence of events marked a huge shift for the NU defense, junior goalkeeper Robbie White said.

“We definitely lost some of our momentum because of them scoring,” White said. “We tried to get our heads back in it and tried to grind out the rest of the game so that we could try to get some chances.”

White had a strong performance in net for the Cats, finishing with five saves on seven shots on goal. But Gallagher scored on a header in the 98th minute, thwarting NU’s upset hopes.

Lenahan said he is hopeful that after a grueling road trip that included matchups against three ranked opponents, the return to Martin Stadium will allow the offense to create more attacking opportunities and capitalize on chances.

“When you’re playing against all these teams that are so veteran and full of seniors, you have to focus on defending to stay in the game,” Lenahan said. “So hopefully as we get home, we can start playing, focusing a little more on the attack, (and) get some numbers forward.”

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