Heading into Tuesday night, the Michigan men’s soccer team hoped to avoid two straight losses. The Wolverines had a tall task in front of them, though, in one of their biggest rivals: Notre Dame.
The first half played relatively evenly with both teams scoring in the first five minutes until Notre Dame would score at the end of the half to take a 2-1 halftime lead. Michigan was unable to regroup in the second half, and fell 3-1.
The beginning of the game was very fast paced. One minute in, the Fighting Irish scored off their first shot when forward Daniel Russo passed the ball to forward Jack Lynn, who beat two Michigan defenders to put Notre Dame up one.
The Wolverines responded quickly, scoring on their second shot of the game. Junior defender Evan Rasmussen netted his first career goal following a nice pass play from sophomore midfielder Bryce Blevins.
With 10 minutes left in the first half, Michigan appeared to score and take a 2-1 lead, but the goal was called off due to a controversial offside penalty. Two minutes later, an opportunistic Notre Dame offense struck, as Lynn scored off a transition pass from midfielder Ethan O’Brien to notch his second goal of the game.
Just before the end of halftime, tensions over the preceding events came to a boil as a scramble ensued between the two teams. However, the fight was promptly subdued, and no cards were handed out.
Finishing the first half with seven shots — compared to last Friday’s loss against Maryland where they only tallied six shots for the entire game — the Wolverines hoped to stay positive heading into halftime.
“We want to try to be as positive as we can and be on the front foot,” Daley said.
Five minutes into the second half, Michigan got an opportunity off of a yellow card, but failed to convert due to heavy traffic in front of the goal. Senior midfielder Kevin Buca approached the right side of the net for a shot that grazed just over the top of the net. Similar near-opportunities repeatedly transpired throughout the remainder of the game.
To the Wolverines’ disservice, weather became a factor later in the second half, as a heavy rainstorm negatively affected the field. It became difficult for players to make effective passes and create offensive chances.
“Our guys fought in very difficult conditions,” Daley said. “It rained from minute one until the game ended.”
Michigan received two more free kicks in the second half but failed to convert on both.
Junior goaltender Owen Finnerty made a diving glove save to deflect Russo’s shot to the left of the net. Halfway through the second half, this save appeared to be a potential momentum shift.
But that was not the case, as the Fighting Irish scored less than two minutes later. Russo found midfielder Mohamed Omar wide open to beat Finnerty for a 3-1 lead.
Michigan was unable to respond in the final twenty minutes, ultimately falling to Notre Dame in a match filled with emotion and offensive opportunities.
“It was tough conditions and Notre Dame persevered, we did not persevere tonight,” Daley said.