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Mens Soccer: Irish hope to rebound against Vikings

Justin Schuver | Tuesday, October 14, 2003

A trip across the state border might be just what Notre Dame needs to rebound from a disappointing conference loss last weekend

The Irish (7-2-3, 3-2-1 in the Big East) travel to Ohio to face the Vikings of Cleveland State in a non-conference matchup tonight. Notre Dame’s last game was a disappointing 5-2 loss at home to Big East-opponent and No. 25 Rutgers.

Despite his team’s defeat, Irish coach Bobby Clark is keeping a positive outlook on things.

“Realistically, you’re going to lose a few games each year,” he said. “I’ve always said that winning is a habit and losing is a habit. You just don’t want to get in the habit of losing.”

The Irish can take some positives out of the loss to the Scarlet Knights. Freshman Ian Etherington, who has provided solid play all year, finally got rewarded for his hard work with the first goal of his Irish career. Senior captain Greg Martin had the other tally for the Irish.

Notre Dame came into the Rutgers game ranked fifth in the nation but figures to fall a little when the new polls come out. Just the same, however, the Irish are on the national radar, and it’s important for the team to bounce back right away.

“The nice thing is that we don’t have to wait too long to show that we’re still a very good team,” Clark said. “If we had to wait a week or so to play again, that would be kind of annoying.

“That’s one of the positives of our situation, and I think the boys are looking forward to this game.”

Cleveland State (6-7) comes into tonight’s game on its own downward swing. The Vikings are currently mired in a four-game losing streak, including two consecutive shutouts. Their last game was a 2-0 loss at home to Marshall Thursday.

By far, the offensive leader for the Vikings is Stephen Ademolu. The junior forward from Windsor, Ont., leads the team with 23 points (10 goals and three assists). Forward Spencer Lappin is second on the team with 14 points (five goals and four assists).

In goal, the Vikings rotate the trio of freshman Josh Cain and juniors Scott Deitz and Amir Kettani. Kettani has the most starts, with nine, but Cain has a better goals-against average (Cain has a 1.94 GAA to Kettani’s 2.11).

The Vikings have roughly matched their opponents goal-for-goal this season, scoring 24 goals while giving up 27. They have been out shot 185-142 in 13 games this year.

Despite the fact the Vikings are a non-conference opponent, Clark does not believe his team will lighten up on its intensity.

“I think we’ll be very solid Tuesday night,” he said. “Anytime you’re coming off a loss, you have to regroup. We’ve got to win all the games we can.

“There will only be one league champion, and we have to be very conscious of at-large bids (for the postseason NCAA tournament) and get as good a record as possible.”

The Cleveland State game is the first in a four-game road trip in which the Irish will play three Big East matches. After facing the Vikings, the Irish will travel to Storrs, Conn. to meet Connecticut Saturday night.