Notre Dame ends Duke men's soccer season with overtime goal in ACC tournament

<p>Carter Manley scored his first career goal Thursday but the Blue Devil defense could not contain Notre Dame star John Gallagher.</p>

Carter Manley scored his first career goal Thursday but the Blue Devil defense could not contain Notre Dame star John Gallagher.

Given an extra day by Mother Nature to prepare for a matchup against Notre Dame in the first round of the ACC tournament, Duke hoped that a win against the Fighting Irish was just the first step in a lengthy postseason run that could have salvaged a disappointing regular season.

But the Blue Devils came up just short in another heartbreaking loss.

Duke’s dreams of making a postseason run were dashed Thursday as the 10th-seeded Blue Devils fell 3-2 to No. 7 seed Notre Dame in overtime at Alumni Stadium in South Bend, Ind. After hanging with the Fighting Irish for 90 minutes, Duke conceded the game-winning goal with 55 seconds left in the first overtime when Notre Dame forward John Gallagher found the back of the net on a header from six yards out to end the Blue Devils’ season.

Head coach John Kerr’s team (7-8-2) put its resilience on display once again facing Notre Dame, twice rallying from a one-goal deficit to tie the game. But Duke was done in by a cross from freshman Jack Casey that Gallagher reached before the Blue Devil defense and headed past goalkeeper Robert Moewes to send the Fighting Irish to the ACC tournament quarterfinals.

The matchup against Notre Dame (11-5-2) was initially scheduled for Wednesday but postponed to Thursday due to incoming thunderstorms in the area.

Once action got under way, the game was a wide open affair, with both teams trading attacks. Although the Fighting Irish outshot the Blue Devils 16-7, Duke made the most of its opportunities, connecting on two of three shots on goal.

The Fighting Irish opened up an early lead in the 10th minute when freshman Tommy McCabe floated a ball to the back post. Senior Brandon Aubrey then brought it down to give Notre Dame early life.

But as they did in their regular-season upset against the Fighting Irish, the Blue Devils fought back. Duke controlled possession following the early tally, capitalizing in the 23rd minute when junior Carter Manley picked up a partially-cleared corner kick about 25 yards out, chested it down and smashed a half volley into the upper corner of the net. The goal was Manley’s first of his career and could not have come at a better time as the Blue Devils seized momentum heading into halftime.

With just 45 minutes potentially standing between Duke and an early ACC tournament exit, the Blue Devils started the second half strong and created a few dangerous chances in the early minutes. But Duke struggled to convert, and Notre Dame took advantage in the 71st minute.

Gallagher—the leading scorer in the ACC—was once again in the middle of the action, setting up junior Jeffery Farina for a header to put the home team back on top.

The Blue Devils responded just minutes later when freshman Max Moser sent a corner kick into the box that found the head of junior Cameron Moseley, who beat goalkeeper Chris Hubbard for his team-leading sixth goal of the year.

Although both teams had opportunities late in regulation, the back-and-forth contest remained tied, putting the two teams in overtime for the second time in as many weeks.

But instead of Duke coming up with a clutch game-winner, Gallagher showed why he is one of the best offensive players in the country, dealing Duke its fourth one-goal loss of the season.

The loss epitomized the Blue Devils’ up-and-down season in many ways. Duke started the year 2-0-1, highlighted by an upset at then-No. 9 UCLA, before going through a rough stretch in October. The Blue Devils lost to Davidson and Georgia State to compound a few ACC losses, then found life with a three-game winning streak late in the year that included their regular-season win against Notre Dame.

After pushing many of the top teams in the country to the brink, Duke will hope lessons learned serve its young team well next year. The Blue Devils will likely miss the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight season.


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