SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A Brandon Aubrey goal in the 75th minute gave the fourth-ranked University of Notre Dame men's soccer team (3-1-1) a 1-0 victory over No. 20 Syracuse in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Saturday evening in front of a SU Soccer Stadium record crowd of 2,442.
Aubrey headed home a Patrick Hodan free kick for the first goal of his career. Syracuse entered the match 4-0 and had not allowed a goal all season. Notre Dame goalkeeper Patrick Wall made three saves to earn his second clean sheet of the campaign.
"I thought we played really well," Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. "Syracuse is really flying this season and they had a huge crowd tonight. We had a really strong performance and it was a total team effort because several guys played well."
The game's first shot on goal came in the 21st minute when Notre Dame midfielder Connor Klekotaworked made his way deep on lower right side of the penalty box and chipped the ball, which Orange goalkeeper Alex Bono tipped over the crossbar for his first of seven saves on the night. Syracuse's first chance on frame came minutes later when Julian Buescher sent a low shot to the far post and Wall scooped up the ball.
Klekota had another shot on goal in the 42nd minute, but Bono redirected the attempt that came from the top of the penalty box. Bono punched out a straight blast from Irish forward Vince Cicciarelli a minute later and the match was scoreless at halftime.
Cicciarelli had a good scoring opportunity in the opening minutes of the second half as he spun around and sent his seven-yard shot to the near post and Bono, who was near the opposite post, scrambled over to deny the chance.
Syracuse's Alseth Oyvind had a far strike deflect off the right post in the 70th minute and four minutes later a diving Wall knocked away a Buescher shot.
IRISH GOAL!!! Brandon Aubrey heads home a Patrick Hodan free kick! That's Aubrey's first career goal. Irish up 1-0 in 75th #NDvsCuse— ND Men's Soccer (@NDMenSoccer) September 14, 2014
Freshman forward Jon Gallagher nearly doubled Notre Dame's lead minutes later when he had a breakaway attempt and Bono came off his line to stop the shot. Gallagher had another attempt saved in the 79th minute.
"All four of our forwards played well tonight," Clark said. "Vince Cicciarelli and Leon Brown paved the way in the first half and early in the second half and then Jon Gallagher and Jeffrey Farina came on and did well. Vince did a great job of just battling early on in the game. Jon had a very good performance and he had a scoring opportunity taken away when he was brought down, which led to the red card."
The Orange kept pressuring late and Wall came up big again when he deflected a shot from Emil Ekblom just wide of the far post in the 84th minute.
"Sometimes it's easy to take Pat [Wal] for granted back there," Clark said. "He did a good job this evening of making the stops he needed to and cleaning things up."
Syracuse had a slim 13-12 edge in shots, but Notre Dame had five more attempts on frame (8-3). The Orange had 15 corner kicks, while the Irish had four.