Mens Soccer: Sawyer, defense blank Spartans 1-0
Pat Leonard | Monday, November 3, 2003
The Notre Dame men’s soccer team closed out its regular season on Sunday with a 1-0 victory at Michigan State.
Senior midfielder Greg Martin scored his fifth goal as the Irish finished the season 12-3-3 overall and 6-3-1 in the Big East.
It was the second victory of the weekend for the Irish.
“This was a very tough inter-regional game,” coach Bobby Clark said. “The weekend overall was great from a results point of view.”
Notre Dame’s sixth conference win came on Friday night against Villanova (9-7-1, 4-6-0) at Alumni Field. The win secured the Irish home-field advantage in the first round of the Big East Tournament.
“The team knew this was huge going into the weekend, both regarding the conference and the NCAA,” coach Bobby Clark said. “Villanova was a very tough home game.”
It was senior night at Alumni Field, as was evident with just under three minutes remaining when senior walk-on Roger Klauer entered the game at forward. Still, a freshman, midfielder Ian Etherington stole the show with two assists in the match.
Etherington found senior forward Devon Prescod with a touch pass inside the box early in the second half. Prescod spun around a defender and drilled a shot past Wildcats’ goaltender Craig Bald at the 52:47 mark.
Etherington later assisted on an insurance goal from Justin Detter at 84:28.
The stakes were high, so the game was physical, with 34 total fouls whistled. Notre Dame was on the receiving end of those calls 19 times.
Villanova finished with 11 shots and Notre Dame finished with seven.
The Irish are now 8-1-0 all-time versus Villanova and 5-0-0 at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame closed the conference schedule strong after dropping two straight Big East games to Rutgers (5-2) and Connecticut (1-0). The Irish finished with three consecutive victories over Providence (2-0), Virginia Tech (2-1) and Villanova.
Notre Dame is the third seed in the Big East and will host sixth seed Connecticut Sunday at 1 p.m.
St. John’s sits as the first seed with an 8-2-0 conference mark. Behind the Red Storm are Virginia Tech (7-3-0, 13-4-0), Notre Dame (6-3-1, 12-3-3), Rutgers (5-2-3, 9-5-3), Seton Hall (5-2-3, 8-4-4), Connecticut (5-3-2, 8-7-3), Providence (4-5-1, 6-8-2) and Villanova (4-6-0, 9-7-1).
Notre Dame started Sunday’s game at Michigan State without both of its starting midfielders. Seniors Chad Riley and Filippo Chillemi sat out due to injuries.
Clark said sophomore John Stevens did well filling in for Riley, who has been sidelined with a pulled hamstring. Riley first pulled the hamstring on the road against Cleveland State and then re-aggravated it at Virginia Tech.
Chillemi cut the inside of his right foot against Villanova and needed eight stitches. Chillemi reentered Friday’s game but sat out on Sunday.
“His foot swelled up a little bit,” Clark said. “It didn’t make any sense to play him [Sunday].