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MENS SOCCER: Hoosiers live up to reputation

Brennan, Kevin | Thursday, October 27, 2005

Notre Dame received a reminder of why Indiana has won the past two NCAA championships Wednesday night, as the Hoosiers soundly defeated the Irish 3-0 at Alumni Field, dominating the game from start to finish.

“They showed why they are the best team in the country,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “They are very, very good.”

Indiana controlled the game from the opening whistle, consistently keeping the ball on Notre Dame’s end of the field. The Hoosiers out shot the Irish 20-7 in the game.

Notre Dame struggled to get anything going offensively and had very few scoring opportunities.

Clark attributed the team’s offensive problems to Indiana’s constant pressure.

“They pressure very hard,” the coach said. “Especially in the attacking areas, they are very tough, very strong and very determined.”

The Hoosiers opened the scoring with 14:01 remaining in the first half. Freshman forward Lee Nguyen fired a free shot from 25 yards out into the top right corner of the goal, just passed the outstretched arms of Notre Dame’s six foot six goalkeeper, Chris Cahill. The score gave Nguyen seven goals on the season.

The Irish headed into intermission down 1-0, but Indiana quickly added to its lead in the second half.

In the 52nd minute, forward Mike Ambersley’s sent a shot at the top of the goal from 35 yards away. Cahill managed to get a hand on the ball, but it deflected into the net to give the Hoosiers a 2-0 advantage.

Later in the half, Ambersley again helped the Hoosiers stretch their lead.

In the 65th minute, Cahill made a nice save on a shot by Indiana star forward Jacob Peterson, but Ambersley collected the rebound and crossed the ball to sophomore midfielder Charley Traylor. Traylor sent a header into the net for his first career goal, widening the gap to 3-0.

“It’s disappointing to lose 3-0. It’s humbling,” junior captain Greg Dalby said.

Despite giving up the three goals, Cahill made several nice saves in the game, totaling seven on the night. The goalie felt the Irish never really got into a groove in the game.

“I don’t think we ever really settled in on defense or on offense the whole game,” Cahill said. “I don’t think we ever got into a flow during the game that we needed.”

Notre Dame’s best scoring chance came late in the game when the team already trailed by three goals. In the 80th minute, junior forward Justin McGeeney got behind the Hoosier defense and took a shot from 12 yards out, but Indiana keeper Chris Munroe stopped the try. Munroe finished the game with three saves.

The Irish came away extremely impressed with the No. 5 Hoosiers.

“That is the team that sets the standard for college soccer,” Dalby said.

Clark agreed with his captain’s sterling assessment.

“It’s as good an Indiana team as I’ve seen over the years,” Clark said. “They pressured the hell out of us. They never let us settle at all into the game.”

The Irish will finish regular season play Saturday at Alumni Field against Big East rival Seton Hall – a game that will be important if they are going to get an NCAA tournament bid.