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Irish hoping for 2-0 start to Big East season

Kate Gales | Thursday, September 23, 2004

The weekend started on Wednesday for the Irish, who set off on their first 2004 Big East conference road trip at West Virginia tonight.”The hardest thing to deal with is missing classes, but it doesn’t make sense to do it any other way,” coach Bobby Clark said. “The lads, they’ve got to work pretty hard at [fitting in schoolwork].”The Irish are coming off a 4-1 thrashing of conference-rival Georgetown and look to improve their conference record to 2-0 with a win against the Mountaineers. West Virginia has yet to post a win in two conference games. The 3-3 Mountaineers will use their home field advantage to try to get above the .500 mark.Despite a close 2-0 loss to in-state foe and defending national champion Indiana, the Irish are playing their strongest heading into the road trip.Freshman Alex Yoshinaga posted two goals in Saturday’s game and classmate Joe Lampira added one to combine with veteran Tony Megna.”I think a lot of people were concerned with losing a lot of scoring power and obviously, there’s always some concern [with that],” Clark said.However, the Irish are finding their stride six games into the new season. “We do feel we’ve got a lot of people who are capable of putting the ball in the net,” Clark said. “A good team has a lot of different people scoring.”A diverse range of players, from defenders Jack Stewart and Christopher High to standout forward Justin McGeeney, have lit up the scoreboards for the Irish this season.In addition to finding the back of the opponent’s net, Stewart and High have helped anchor a defense that protects their own. Always a stronghold in the Clark era, the defense has established itself among the nation’s stingiest.After Saturday’s game, the team buckled down to prepare for West Virginia with its usual hard-working practices.”Just the regular practice, that’s all we do,” Clark said. “We’re working really hard at what we work at every week, and I think we’re in pretty good shape.”The Irish have not lost at Mountaineer Soccer Complex since 1999. They take the field against West Virginia at 7 p.m.