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Men’s Soccer: Irish play Indiana in 2nd round

Kevin Brennan | Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Indiana has not lost an NCAA Tournament game since falling 1-0 to UConn in the third round of the 2002 tournament. Notre Dame will try to end that streak today.

The Irish will travel to Bloomington this afternoon to take on the two-time defending national champions in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at 7 p.m.

Indiana (13-2-6) enters the game as the tournament’s third seed and one of the most talented teams in the country. The Hoosiers had three players – junior forward Jacob Peterson, senior midfielder Brian Plotkin and junior defender Jed Zayner – named to the list of 15 semifinalists for the Hermann Trophy, an award given each year to the top player in collegiate soccer.

Petersen and Plotkin are tied for the Big Ten Conference lead for points with 26 apiece. Zayner anchors a Hoosier defense that ranks No. 11 nationally with a 0.62 goals against average.

The Irish know they have a tough task in dethroning the Hoosiers.

“It’s a tall order,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “But it’s definitely possible.”

Notre Dame is coming off of a 2-0, first-round victory over Western Illinois Friday at Alumni Field. Indiana, who received a bye in the first round, has not played since losing 1-0 to Penn State in the Big Ten Championship on Nov. 13.

The teams met once this year during the regular season, as Indiana defeated the Irish 3-0 at Alumni Field on Oct. 26.

“There’s not a lot of secrets,” Clark said. “The one thing we do know is they’re a very good team. They’re the best team we played all year.”

Clark said his team must not enter the game worrying about the regular season loss or Indiana’s past tournament successes.

“If we’re going to be intimidated, we aren’t going to win,” Clark said. “We can’t be intimidated by them, [and] I don’t think we will be. I think our guys are looking forward to this game.”

Clark said he is excited about the game because of the challenge it presents to his team.

“It’s a great opportunity for our program to really catapult itself into the realms of being a possible NCAA winner. At this time, most people have pegged Indiana as one of the likely teams to win it. We’ve got to go down there, and we’ve got to get a result and obviously take over their mantle.”

The head coach believes the Irish have the talent to pull off the upset.

“If we play well and we perform well, we’ll have a very good chance of coming out with something,” Clark said. “It could be a great night for the Irish.”