Newly top-ranked Notre Dame picks up 2-0 win at No. 18 Michigan State
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- On the day Notre Dame reclaimed the top spot in the national polls, the Fighting Irish lived up to the ranking with a 2-0 victory at No. 18 Michigan State on Tuesday afternoon. Goals from forwards Harrison Shipp and Vince Cicciarelli just 37 seconds apart in the second half propelled the Irish to their 10th victory of the season.
The scoring surge began in the 60th minute when midfielder Robby Gallegos played the ball to Shipp, who tucked his shot into the far post from the top of the penalty box for his team-best seventh goal of the season. Cicciarelli's attempt came from eight yards out on the left side of the penalty box and he sailed it past Spartan goalkeeper Zach Bennett. Leon Brown and Patrick Hodan assisted on the goal, which was the fourth of the season for Cicciarelli.
Notre Dame (10-1-5) held a 16-15 shot advantage and both teams had eight corner kicks. Senior goalkeeper Patrick Wall made five saves to notch his sixth shutout of the season. Bennett also had five stops for Michigan State (9-4-3).
"Getting those two goals kind of finished the game," Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. "Robby Gallegos played Harry [Shipp] a nice ball. Robby fought hard. He re-pressed and got the ball back and got it to Harry.
"Vince [Cicciarelli] is now starting to get some goals. He had a very good game and he was against a really tough central defender. I thought he handled them very well. He almost had another two goals and he's looking so dangerous right now."
Notre Dame's first shot of the match came from Cicciarelli in the sixth minute and his attempt from the left side of the penalty box was saved by Bennett. Shipp, a senior forward, placed a shot wide of the far post from 20 yards out in the 13th minute and less than a minute later he sent a low cross to Max Lachowecki at the far post, but the Irish left back couldn't get a good foot on the ball.
The initial shot on goal for the Spartans was an attempt from distance in the 17th minute from Tim Kreutz that was saved by Wall. At the other end of the pitch, a corner kick from Shipp in the 20th minute went to the feet of midfielder Evan Panken and his flick on frame was saved by Bennett.
In the 24th minute, Wall jumped to punch away an attempt from Brent McIntosh that was headed for the upper corner of the netting. Cicciarelli, a junior, drilled a shot on frame in the 32nd minute, but Bennett was there for the stop and a minute later Gallegos sailed the ball just high from the top of the penalty box. Fellow midfielder Connor Klekota had an 18-yard shot of his own in the 42nd minute that was saved by a diving Bennett. Notre Dame outshot Michigan State 9-4 in the scoreless first half.
The first solid chance for either team in the second half occurred in the 59th minute when an Irish corner kick was batted around in the box and central defender Grant Van De Casteele got a foot on it, but his shot was blocked by a Spartan defender.
Michigan State's final push for a goal came with just more than two minutes remaining when Jay Chapman placed a low shot on frame and Wall was there for the save.
Tuesday was the second road win in four days against a ranked opponent for the Fighting Irish, who topped No. 12 Wake Forest 3-1 on Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C. Notre Dame is 6-0-1 this season in true road matches. The victory also put the Irish at the 10-win plateau for the 12th time in 13 seasons under Clark.
"Coming up here today and getting a win after winning at Wake Forest on Saturday says a lot about this team," Clark said. "It's a tough team and Michigan State isn't an easy team to play. They only had three losses coming into today's game and they are No. 11 in the RPI. We came into their home and controlled long periods of the game, but they were tough. It was a tough game and a great result."