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MEN’S SOCCER: Team shuts down visiting Pirates, 4-0

Tom Brennan | Monday, October 31, 2005

Badly needing a win, Notre Dame defeated No. 16 Seton Hall 4-0 Saturday in its final regular season game.

The win moved Notre Dame’s record to 10-6-2 overall and 6-4-1 in the Big East and significantly bolstered the team’s chance of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

“That was a terrific team performance,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “It’s nice when a top-20 team comes in and you give them four goals.”

Notre Dame opened the scoring at the end of the first half when freshman forward Bright Dike tallied his second career goal.

Dike took a pass from forward Joe Lapira, beat one Seton Hall defender and fired a shot past goalkeeper Boris Pardo for the score.

“He brings so much energy to the team,” Clark said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete.”

In the second half, the Notre Dame offense exploded. Four minutes into the period, Lapira scored to stretch the Irish advantage to 2-0.

Midfielders Matt Besler and Kurt Martin were both credited with assists on the play.

Two minutes later, Besler added another assist. The freshman found junior defender Ryan Miller on the right side of the box. Miller sent a shot past Pardo for his first career goal.

The final act of the offensive barrage came with 14:11 left in the game when Lapira scored his second goal of the night.

Lapira headed the ball in off of a long cross from Martin, putting Notre Dame on top 4-0.

With the two goals and one assist, Lapira recorded five points on the night. The forward leads the Irish with 15 points on the year.

Junior Midfielder Nate Norman, who sat out Saturday’s game with an injury, has the second most points with nine.

Junior goalkeeper Chris Cahill had three saves against the Pirates. Senior Justin Michaud, who replaced Cahill for the last 11 minutes, added a save of his own.

At the end of the game, Clark made sure to get Michaud and the rest of the seniors on the field for their last regular season home game.

“It was very satisfying to get all the seniors on the field for good periods of time,” Clark said. “I’ve not been able to do that right through so it was terrific to be able to do that.”

The win was vital for Notre Dame in terms of its NCAA Tournament chances.

If the Irish do not win the Big East Tournament and thus secure an automatic bid, they must hope for an at-large invitation.

“That’s another great win when you’re looking to get into the NCAA tournament,” Clark said. “I think we get another win on top of that and I think we’re almost a lock. So that was a very important game for us.”

Notre Dame will host a first round Big East tournament game Wednesday. The opponent for the game has yet to be determined.