NOTRE DAME, Ind. — No. 1 seed Notre Dame defeated Michigan State 3-0 on Sunday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at a sunny Alumni Stadium. The match was the tournament opener for the Irish, who earned a first-round bye.
Notre Dame (17-3-1) received first-half goals from junior forward Harrison Shipp and senior forward Ryan Finley, while sophomore left back Max Lachowecki added a third goal late in the second half. Senior midfielder Dillon Powers assisted on the first two tallies.
The Fighting Irish defense allowed just two shots on goal and senior goalkeeper Will Walsh made two saves to pick up his sixth clean sheet of the season and improve his record to 8-2-1. The Irish defense has nine shutouts this season.
Notre Dame outshot Michigan State 17-8 in the match. Spartan goalkeeper Zach Bennett made three saves. The Irish also had a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks.
“I thought we opened the game well,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “We were very, very good in the second part of the first half. I also thought we were exceptionally good in the first part of the second half. We had some very good chances to put the game away. Their goalkeeper had some excellent saves. It was a good performance for us and anytime you win in the NCAAs you’re very happy.”
Neither team had great chances early in the match, but that changed in the 33rd minute when Powers played the ball ahead to Shipp and he placed his shot into the lower left corner of the netting from 14 yards away. It was Shipp’s sixth goal of the season and it marked the third consecutive game against Michigan State that Shipp notched the deciding goal. The Irish defeated the Spartans 2-0 on Sept. 14 at Alumni Stadium.
“Getting that first goal was huge,”Shipp said. “Michigan State is good at sitting back and playing defense. Once you get that first goal they have to come out and that’s how it was easy to get two more goals because they have to go on the attack.”
In the 44th minute, Shipp played a short corner kick to Powers, who crossed the ball into the six-yard box and Finley headed home his team-high 21st goal of the season. Powers has a team-best nine assists this season.
“Dillon [Powers] put in a good ball and Grant [Van De Casteele] ran across and dummied it and I was able to get a head on it and redirect it in,” said Finley. “We’ve been working on set pieces a lot so it was nice to get rewarded with that goal.”
Finley hit the near post with a shot from deep on the left side the opening minutes of the second half. Freshman midfielder Patrick Hodan had two attempts saved by Bennett during the early portion of the second half.
Michigan State (12-10-1) did not register a shot on goal until the 56th minute when Domenic Barone fired away from just outside the penalty box and Walsh was there for the stop.
Finley threatened again in the 66th minute when he unleashed a shot from 15 yards away that went right into the hands of Bennett. Finley had a game-high four shots.
Notre Dame junior right back Luke Mishu and Michigan State’s Wesley Curtis were issued red cards in the 73rd minute. The Spartans lost another player in the 78th minute when Fatai Alashe was given his second yellow card of the match. Michigan State was whistled for 16 fouls, while Notre Dame had nine.
The Irish put the game away in the 80th minute when Shipp attacked the goal and Bennett came off his line to deflect the ball, which went right to Lachowecki and he deposited the ball into the far netting for his second goal of the season.
The Fighting Irish will be making the program’s sixth appearance in the NCAA championship Round of 16 and the first since 2007. It will be the fifth trip for the Irish under Clark.