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Keeping them on a short leash

Justin Schuver | Monday, September 29, 2003

This Big East rivalry more than lived up to its bidding. No. 8 Notre Dame defeated Georgetown at home Sunday 2-1 in a game that was full of physical play, ejections and numerous collisions.

Georgetown and Notre Dame have a history of physical play, and this game was no different; two Hoyas were thrown out in the last five minutes, and several players from both teams received yellow cards.

It was also a bit of payback for the Irish (6-1-2, 2-1-0 in the Big East), who lost both matches to the Hoyas (3-4-2, 1-3-0) last year, losing 3-2 in Washington during the regular season and 2-1 in overtime in the quarterfinals of the Big East Championship at Alumni Field.

Both losses came despite the fact that Notre Dame outshot Georgetown by a combined total of 43-21 in the two games.

“We talked about it before the game,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “Every game we’ve played with [Georgetown] before, they’ve had players sent off. We talked about discipline, because I felt that was how we lost the game at their place last year, even though we outplayed them statistically.

“You can get caught up with their style of play, and with the referee, and end up losing a game that you should have won.”

Again, the Irish dominated the Hoyas statistically, outshooting their opponent 16-7 and getting nine shots on goal to Georgetown’s four. The difference was that Notre Dame also came out on top in the only statistical category that really matters – goals.

Part of the reason for an Irish victory was the play of Notre Dame’s seniors, who scored every point in the game. Forwards Devon Prescod and Justin Detter each scored a goal, midfielder Chad Riley had two assists, and midfielder Greg Martin and defender Kevin Richards each had one assist.

“I think that these seniors have shown some tremendous leadership,” Clark said. “Last January they made a statement that they wanted to make this a special season. I think maybe that’s what their points are telling us, that they’re going to make this a special season for us.”

The game Sunday began decisively in favor of the Irish, as Notre Dame outshot Georgetown 7-1 in the first half. The Hoyas were unable to get anything past the Irish defense, nor past goalkeeper Chris Sawyer.

In the 28th minute, Richards took a short pass from Riley coming down the right side and sent a short cross toward Detter, who was inside the box. Despite having his back to the goal, Detter managed to kick the ball into the goal with his heels to give Notre Dame the early 1-0 lead.

Notre Dame took the 1-0 lead into halftime but came out of the break rather complacent on defense, allowing the Hoyas to get three quick shots right in a row within the first three minutes of the second half.

That third shot finally eluded Sawyer, breaking up a shutout streak that had reached 485 minutes. Hoya midfielder Carl Skanderup lobbed a harmless-looking cross in toward the goal from just past midfield, and his high-arching ball may have been affected by the wind as it just eluded Sawyer.

The Hoya goal seemed to be a wakeup call for the Irish, who tightened up defensively and managed to score the go-ahead goal a little more than 10 minutes later.

From the right side, Riley sent in a cross toward the box, which Prescod easily headed in to give Notre Dame the lead again.

For the remainder of the game, there were few serious scoring chances by either team. The game started to get more physical as the half wore on, as players from both teams received constant fouls and cards.

It all boiled to a head with five minutes left in the game, as Hoyas Kaiser Chowdhry and Dan Pydo were ejected within 30 seconds of each other. Despite playing with a two-man advantage for the rest of the game, the Irish were unable to generate any more scoring chances on Hoya goalkeeper Tim Hogan.

The Irish finished their September-long homestand with a 4-2-1 record. They play two road contests this week, against Big East opponents Syracuse and Pittsburgh.