MEN'S SOCCER: Shumowitz Impresses In His Eagle Debut
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 01:09
The pace of the opening moments was as intimidating as Notre Dame’s status as the nation’s top dog. Players were zipping from spot to spot chasing down a ball that had entered a pinball machine.
There were moments of calm early in the match, though, especially when Derrick Boateng got on the ball. That was Boston College’s strategy. Get the ball to the magician so that he could throw some stepovers to get the crowd going.
While Boateng was exciting the supporters, Isaac Normesinu was waiting on the right wing. He had a couple of moves forward for the Eagles and his positive play was the stem of opportunities. None were better than the one he created for himself 17 minutes in.
“He overlapped,” said head coach Ed Kelly. “The full back went to go with [Isaac] and as soon as he didn’t make up his mind, he went inside and ‘boom’ it was in the back of the net, so the run made everything.”
The winger’s move down the right was sublime to say the least and the finish was even better. But just seconds later, a defensive lapse saw the Eagles get caught too far forward. Harrison Shipp’s goal humbled the Newton Campus.
Shipp’s movement for Notre Dame was excellent. He played as a False Nine—a player that starts as a forward, but drops into the middle of the field when his team has the ball, almost fitting in as a central midfielder. Players that fit this mold are extremely versatile footballers. They are creators and those that change games. As they sneak in between different parts of the pitch, it makes them difficult to pick up, because they are too deep for the center backs to mark, yet too far forward for center midfielders to bully.
“He kept dropping in the hole all the time,” Kelly said of Shipp, and that gave BC problems.
While BC went with its 4-4-1-1, Shipp gave the Fighting Irish the ability to shape shift, throwing BC off guard, making the draw far harder to maintain. Notre Dame used a compact 4-2-2-2 in the second half. With that tactic in place, BC would have to mark two center forwards in addition to Shipp, who drifted between his side’s forward and midfield pairings.
Kelly began the second period of play by having Nick Butler track the danger man in the middle of the pitch. He called upon the talents of Amir Shumowitz when Shipp drifted to the left of Notre Dame’s attack.
Shumowitz was impressive in his debut for the Eagles. The right back got forward throughout the match, posing a threat to his Notre Dame counterpart Max Lachowecki. His influence was high and he played a huge part in pinning Notre Dame’s Lachowecki into his own half. By pressing the away side back, Shumowitz and company. put Normesinu in the position to score. But the pressure fell off after the consecutive goals, forcing Shumowitz back and letting Lachowecki get forward for Notre Dame.
“He’s fantastic. I don’t think he did a thing wrong,” Kelly said.
The new kid on the block made multiple challenges to protect the team’s right flank from overlapping runs, as Notre Dame’s full backs provided the width necessary to spread out their 4-2-2-2.
When Notre Dame did attack down the Eagles’ throats, they stood strong. Exemplary defensive displays from Atobra Ampadu, Giuliano Frano, and Boateng thwarted drives forward from the visiting attackers
The midfield trio produced stand up tackles that led to counter attacks, but the dirty work had to be done to produce the draw. Kelly praised the efforts of Atobra, who came on as a substitute to force the issue. No. 6 made a tackle and drove over 60 yards down the pitch, before losing the ball. Ampadu enjoyed a good bit of banter with Nana who was stalwart in defense.
“Toby [Atobra] is still injured,” Kelly said. “He busted Nana [Boateng]’s chops, saying, ‘I didn’t know you could defend.’ That’s a big step for Nana now to do that.”
The defensive stands became more prevalent after the sending off of Butler a half hour from time. Butler became the third Eagle to see red this year, so Kelly had to make another adjustment. The manager had Cole DeNormandie act as the team’s only striker for the majority of the period after which Butler was ejected.
“We play with one behind, so we just neutralize,” Kelly said, “4-4-1. We did a great job of balancing out after the movement and the sliding. The defending was fantastic. That was not easy.”