The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



MEN’S SOCCER: Irish slate to end against Seton Hall

Kate Gales | Friday, October 28, 2005

Despite a tough 3-0 loss at home on Wednesday, the Irish are prepared to bounce back and honor their seniors in the final regular-season game against Seton Hall Saturday at 7 p.m. at Alumni Field.

Aside from being the final regular-season game, playing Seton Hall has important consequences for the postseason.

“They’ve won five games in a row so it’s going to be an excellent test for us,” Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark said.

The Irish are now 9-6-2 overall with a 5-4-1 record in Big East play. After winning the final two games of their weeklong fall break road trip, the Irish are coming off a heartbreaking loss to No. 5 Indiana.

“There’s a lot of very sound performances – I thought there were some excellent performances,” Clark said. “The lads stuck to their task, it was a pity because it was a great soccer night in South Bend with 2,500 people at the game – great atmosphere.”

The team must rebound quickly to pick up a crucial win against Seton Hall to close out the regular season.

“[A win] will be good for seeding,” Clark said. “It will also be important because if we can win that game and win a few games in the tournament … It puts us in for an at-large bid to the NCAAs.”

Seton Hall is 11-2-2 (5-2-2 Big East), with the third-best scoring offense in the country, averaging 3.08 goals per game.

The Pirates knocked Notre Dame out of the Big East tournament last year, advancing 8-7 on penalty kicks. Notre Dame won the regular-season matchup 1-0 in 2004.

Clark said the Irish have moved on from their loss on Wednesday.

“We were at practice today and everybody’s great,” Clark said. “I think it’s one of these things that you have no choice … you’ve got to move on whether it’s success or failure.”

Aside from the importance of the game, it’s a chance for the team to honor its seniors.

“We always present flowers to the seniors on the last home game,” Clark said. “We get a picture, we take a picture of all of them together with Mary Ann [Spence, the team’s academic advisor] that they get at the banquet.”

The seniors have filled important leadership roles in a difficult rebuilding year for Notre Dame.

“The seniors have been superb,” Clark said. “Some of them, like Benny Crouse, have played pretty much every minute … then [keeper Justin Michaud] has been an absolute superb backup in every regard.

“Of course the ones who have played – Tony Megna, John Stephens – have been excellent.”

For one senior, it was a disappointing season due to injury.

“The one I feel sorry for is Dale Rellas,” Clark said. “Dale obviously was playing and then he kept picking up injuries, but he still stays very much involved and has been a very good captain.”