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Irish too much for Braves

Pat Leonard | Friday, September 26, 2003

Greg Martin lined up to take the penalty shot.

“We’re first on the rebound,” screamed a Bradley coach.

Martin hit a rocket at the right side of the goal. Bradley goalie Chris Dunsheath made the save, but Martin drilled home the rebound.

The Irish were a step ahead of Bradley all night. Martin scored his first goal of the season and forward Justin Detter added one for insurance as the men’s soccer team increased its winning streak to three games with a 2-0 victory over Bradley Thursday night.

Notre Dame (5-1-2) contended with a fired up team from Bradley (4-5-0).

“They were here since Wednesday,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said, “so this was a big game for them.”

As big as the game was for the Braves, the No. 8 Irish treated this contest just as seriously, even if they could not prepare as well.

“It’s always difficult for our boys to come out from class on Thursdays, days when the crowds usually aren’t that big,” Clark said. “But we kept it tight to the end. Our defense was working very hard and that is a big reason for our winning.”

Notre Dame’s defense allowed just five shots, and goalie Chris Sawyer had to make only one save.

The dominating play in the back for Notre Dame slowed Bradley’s attack. The Irish finally got on the board at the 56:42 mark in the second half. Irish midfielder Ian Etherington was taken down by a defender on the right side of the box, and Martin scored on the penalty shot rebound.

Notre Dame played a control game the rest of the way, moving methodically upfield and getting chances off of crossing passes from speedy defender Kevin Richards.

Bradley sent long balls over the Irish defense, but Sawyer corralled everything kicked his way. The Braves’ best chance came on a breakaway. Notre Dame defender Greg Dalby slide-tackled the forward to the ground and no whistle was blown. Bradley coaches wanted a red card.

As the game wore on, the Braves’ defense got lazy. Defender Jack Stewart noticed and sent a long pass to the right corner of the field. Detter chased down the pass, slide tackled the ball past a confused Bradley defender and slammed home a low, left-footed shot underneath Dunsheath with 2:49 remaining in the game.

“It was nice for Detter to seal the game,” Clark said. “We had long periods of dominating, but at times they still looked dangerous.”

After the goal, the Irish were still hungry for more.

Martin headed a Richards’ cross wide. Chad Riley just missed the left post on a low drive, and Tony Megna just missed a goal off of a Riley free kick.

Notre Dame’s condition has paid off toward the end of games. Irish players, particularly in the midfield, have the extra stamina for the late game.