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Team opens regular season today

Kate Gales | Friday, September 3, 2004

There’s a first time for everything, but Bobby Clark does not expect the Irish to lose their season-opening match for the first time since he’s been here.At the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic, the No. 9 Irish take on Oregon State today at 5 p.m., and face Boston University Sunday at noon. The event is hosted by Indiana University, the nation’s top-ranked team heading into the season.Although the early start to the academic year curtailed preseason workouts, Clark feels the Irish are ready for a real game situation.”It’s good to get games because a game is probably the best learning situation,” he said. In preseason competition, the Irish defeated Northwestern 2-0 and tied Massachusetts 0-0. “I don’t think in either game we’ve quite got it right yet,” Clark said. “There have been some very good bits and pieces, there’s been a lot of positives. There’s been a lot more positives than there are negatives.”The vaunted Irish defense took a blow when senior stalwart Kevin Goldthwaite went down with an injury in practice. Junior Ben Crouse filled in for the left back in last weekend’s scrimmage against Massachusetts. “Benny played last weekend at UMass and did very well,” Clark said. “It’s good to get some valuable experience. Obviously we hope to get Kevin back before too long, but it’s one of the important things that you have good depth in the squad.”This squad features a number of sophomores in attacking positions, including forward Justin McGeeney and midfielders Greg Dalby, Nate Norman and Ian Etherington. Clark is still waiting for someone to step into the top-scoring position. “Obviously nothing has happened yet, but this weekend would be an excellent time for it to begin,” Clark said. The Irish will need the offensive firepower to start the season off with a win tonight.Oregon State finished second in the Pac-10 last year, but returns only four starters. This will be the first time in school history they have faced Notre Dame.Boston University posted a 9-8-3 record last year, taking fourth in the America East Conference. They return eight of their starters and will challenge No. 1 Indiana today.Clark is confident that the weekend will be a good one.”I think the potential’s there but we’ve obviously got to realize this potential,” he said. “This will be a good opportunity.”