Boston College men’s soccer was undefeated through five games. Then, it ran into two top-10 teams and fell by one goal in each contest. The Eagles (2-2-3, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) will get no respite from this brutal stretch of matchups when they travel to South Bend, Ind. to square off against No. 20 Notre Dame on Friday night. The Fighting Irish (4-3-1, 1-1) are also struggling of late, entering Friday’s night match having lost three of their last four. This edition of the “Holy War” will see two strong programs try to break free from their recent woes.
Who is BC playing?
When is BC playing?
Friday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m.
Where is BC playing?
Alumni Stadium, South Bend, Ind.
How to Watch:
This game will be livestreamed via the ACC Network Extra on WatchESPN.
By the Numbers:
1) Simon Enstrom has scored six goals in BC’s first seven games, which is good for a share of second in the ACC. He is also pacing the conference with 26 shots, although he has been able to muster just three in the last two games as Louisville and Duke keyed in on the senior.
2) While BC is fairly even in most statistics with its opponents, one glaring difference is in corner kicks. The Eagles have conceded 49 corners, as opposed to earning just 25 themselves, ranking last in the conference.
3) Eleven of the 12 goals BC has scored this year have been assisted on. The Eagles have benefited from unselfish team play this season, something that it will need to rely on to defeat Notre Dame on Friday.
1) Patrick Berneski is right behind Enstrom with five goals on the season. He has developed a connection with Felicien Dumas, who is second in the conference with six assists.
2) Two of Notre Dame’s last three losses have come in overtime. The Irish couldn’t get the last laugh in the extra frame against both Indiana and North Carolina, where crucial goals conceded blocked the path for a top-10 ranking.
3) The Irish average 9.38 shots per game, and 4.50 shots on goal per game. Given that both of these numbers rank dead last in the ACC, it’s apparent that Notre Dame is doing a relatively good job converting the few chances it receives on a match-to-match basis.
On Sept. 8, 2017, BC fell to Notre Dame, 3-1, at home. Jon Gallagher was in the zone, notching a hat trick, including two beautiful free kicks that found the back of the net. Beto Luna scored the lone goal for BC, who dropped what was the first conference game of the season to the then-No. 6 Irish. Both teams totaled 11 shots, but Notre Dame launched nine of them on net, compared to just two for the Eagles.
Notre Dame is the ranked side and will be playing at home, so BC will have to bring its A-game to take down the Irish. That said, the Eagles are off to a respectable start this season, defeating Clemson in a statement win to open the conference schedule and later holding their own against two top-10 programs earlier this fall.
Ed Kelly’s squad will have to keep a tight back line, as this looks to be a defensive battle. Capitalizing on opportunities will be key, as BC could not light a spark in its last two matches. In the front, Enstrom needs to regain his composure and exploit defensive mismatches. His physicality should be put on display against a disciplined Notre Dame back four. If Enstrom gets into a groove, he can be the game changer that carries BC past another ranked opponent.
Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Senior Staff