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MEN’S SOCCER: Irish go 2-1 during fall break

Kate Gales | Tuesday, October 25, 2005

After playing three tough conference games on the road during fall break, the Irish are glad to return home and bring a 2-1 record on the week with them.

The Irish lost to Georgetown on Oct. 15, but beat Providence 2-1 on Wednesday and Pittsburgh 2-1 on Saturday to bring a two-game winning streak home to South Bend.

“It puts us in a good position, provided we can play well in these next two games,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “It would have been nice if we had won all three games, and I think all three games were certainly winnable.”

The Irish face defending national champions Indiana on Wednesday.

As most students departed for break, the Irish traveled to the nation’s capital to face conference rival Georgetown on Oct. 15. Although the final score was 1-0 in favor of the Hoyas, Clark felt the Irish were in control of the game.

“The highlight was that we controlled the Georgetown game start to finish,” Clark said. “We played a very, very good game, and we lost a fairly disappointing goal against the run of play.”

It was the second consecutive game where the Irish were shut out. They held Georgetown to only four shots on goal and out-shot the Hoyas 18-14, with six shots on goal.

“But we kept up discipline. I think that was thing that I was most proud about,” Clark said. “We never showed panic, we showed good discipline … I thought the team played well [despite the loss]. It’s hard to say anything otherwise at the end of the game.”

The Irish surged in the second half after giving up the game’s only goal in the 33rd minute, notching 14 of their 18 shots, but were unable to find the back of the net.

Against Providence, however, the Irish were able to leave a close game with a win. Kurt Martin sent one home with three minutes remaining in the second overtime period for his first career goal and a key Irish victory in the conference.

“We had to keep our heads up and head on to Providence, and they did that. It was a much tougher game in many ways,” Clark said. “Providence is the best Providence team I’ve seen for many years … they were a tough team, they competed well.”

After Justin McGeeney scored in the ninth minute, the Irish came out strong against an aggressive Friars team. Goalkeeper Chris Cahill allowed a goal in the 88th minute to force overtime, but Martin saved the game for the Irish.

“I was very happy about that goal and that win,” Clark said.

The Irish carried the winning streak through Pittsburgh in another 2-1 victory, this one in regulation time. Although many of their games feature late surges, the Irish scored both goals against the Panthers in the first seven minutes of play. Alex Yoshinaga and Greg Dalby recorded tallies less than three minutes apart to build a lead that would prove insurmountable to Pittsburgh.

“Two excellent goals set us off in that game,” Clark said. “That was a game that possibly, it was the easiest trip of the fall break because it was a game where we scored early … and we never really lost control.”

Despite maintaining control, the Irish were unable to score again, and Pittsburgh cut the lead in half in the second period.

“It was a game we could have blown open I felt. We never got the third goal,” Clark said. “[Their goal in the second half], that obviously made it a tighter finish than we would have liked, but I still felt we were in control.”

After three games, Clark said that all players contributed positive things to the team.

“There were a lot of good performances over the trip I felt. Over three games, everyone played pretty well, contributed, played some good moments,” he said.

Although not everyone saw playing time, all the traveling players contributed to support the Irish, Clark said.

“Even the ones who didn’t play, they were very supportive. It was good team spirit,” he said.

The Irish will face in-state rival Indiana on Wednesday at Alumni Field at 6 p.m.