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MEN’S SOCCER: Irish split weekend matchups

Kate Gales | Monday, September 5, 2005

They left with mixed feelings, mixed results and a new record of 1-1.

But the No. 16 Irish made a statement to a nation of fans wondering how this team will fare in this season’s spotlight. Notre Dame beat No. 7 Southern Methodist University, 4-1, and lost a close overtime match to No. 10 Wake Forest.

“They were both good teams,” coach Bobby Clark said. “I think winning one and losing one … you’re not quite sure whether to be happy or sad. I suppose we seem a little bit more sad because the second one was a loss, and it was a tough loss.”

The Irish faced the Mustangs in the first game Saturday and jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Greg Dalby’s free kick in the first two minutes of play. The standout midfielder, known for his defensive play, notched his first career goal from 40 yards out.

Fellow midfielder Nate Norman added to the Irish lead at 14:59, blasting a shot from just outside the box.

“Obviously you’re looking to see your forwards get in with goals, but it’s also great when the midfielders [do],” Clark said. “This is something we’ve got. We feel midfielders can score goals.”

After goalkeeper Chris Cahill allowed a deflection in the 37th minute, the Irish sealed the deal with a John Stephens goal off another Dalby free kick at 79:13. The Irish hammered the upset home with Joe Lapira’s breakaway feed from Alex Yoshinaga less than a minute later for a final score of 4-1.

Although the victory was lopsided, Clark felt the team showed more heart in the 1-0 loss to Wake Forest.

“It’s a funny thing because I felt we played better against Wake,” Clark said. “I thought the team’s performance was actually better.”

The team’s four goals against the Mustangs were good for morale, but Clark knows the effort the team puts into the game isn’t always reflected on the scoreboard.

“Sometimes in soccer the goals don’t always tell the story,” he said.” They don’t tell the whole story – we got goals fairly easily in that game but in many ways from a team perspective, I felt we played better soccer against Wake.”

The scoreless regulation periods were a hard-fought contest on Sunday, with both teams controlling parts of the play.

Forward Kurt Martin had a close call in the second half, sending a screaming shot over the crossbar. Cahill recorded five saves over the course of the game.

“I felt at the time when we lost the game we were really controlling the game, we were the team that was looking to win the game,” Clark said. “That was disappointing. It was a very good game, it was an excellent game … we had chances and they had chances.”

Unfortunately for the Irish, the Demon Deacons would be the team to capitalize on their chance with a goal in the 96th minute.

“We looked like the team that was really wanting to win it,” Clark said. “The trouble in sudden death, you don’t get an opportunity to come back, that’s the end of the game.”

Clark said the Irish will watch game tape and prepare for the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament, which they host next weekend. They take mixed emotions out of this weekend’s play.

“It was kind of bittersweet,” Clark said. “You were very happy to win the game against SMU whereas against Wake, you were happy to play well but disappointed not to win the game.”

The Irish next take the field against Boston University at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.