Men’s Soccer: Irish win with second half charge
Eric Retter | Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Second-half goals by forward Bright Dike and Nate Norman lifted No. 15 Notre Dame to a 2-0 victory over St. Francis Monday night as the Irish concluded their perfect preseason.
Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark was pleased with his team’s effort in the second and final exhibition.
“We had the best share of things, it was a good game,” he said.
The game remained deadlocked throughout the first half despite a 7-3 Irish advantage in shots on goal.
Notre Dame finally broke through in the second half after midfielder Andrew Benton deflected a Kurt Martin corner kick to Dike in the 63rd minute, and Dike was able to beat St. Francis goalkeeper Justin Janicek for the first goal of the game.
Norman secured the game for the Irish with a powerful shot past Janicek with just two minutes left to play.
“[He] scored the goal of the game,” Clark said. “Fantastic, fantastic goal.”
In the second half, St. Francis had numerous chances to score an equalizer. The Red Flash came their closest after midfielder Brent Brockman had an open shot on net. The play developed after goalkeeper Andrew Quinn stepped out to defend a previous attack, but had the ball deflected and cleared by senior defenseman Ryan Miller, whose slide tackle saved an equalizing goal.
“They got in behind us more than I would have liked,” Clark said. “They have a good side and they made it very difficult for us; full credit to them.”
Despite a few scares, Clark was impressed with the performance he got from both his goalies, as senior Chris Cahill kept the Red Flash scoreless in the first half while Quinn kept them out of the goal in the final 45 minutes.
“Quinn maybe had a little more to do than Cahill, [but] both did well,” Clark said. “I don’t know if we’ve decided who’s going to be the starter, because they’ve both done very well through the early season.”
Clark was also pleased with the team’s progression from their first exhibition – a 1-0 victory at Drake – to Monday night’s game.
“This time we played it a little more the way we are going to play [during the season],” he said. “Last time we played one team for a half and another team for a half; this time we tried to put it together a little bit more.”
Clark was also pleased with the performance of the freshmen that have gotten the opportunity to play, especially Tamba Samba, Dave Donohue and Michael Thomas, and he regretted that injuries kept a fourth rookie from playing Monday night.
“One boy who was excellent the last time but couldn’t play tonight because he got a wee tweak in his knee was Justin Morrow,” Clark said. “He’s been superb actually. It was tough that he couldn’t get out, [because] the crowd would have loved to have seen him because he’s very exciting.”
While his team was undefeated in the preseason, Clark emphasized that Notre Dame needed to continue improving in order to have similar success once the season begins.
“We’ve still got some rust to knock off,” he said. “We’re not quite where we want to be.”
uMonday’s game was the third annual preseason home game where the Irish have raised money for Grassroot Soccer, an organization founded by Clark’s son, Tommy, with the goal of using soccer as a medium for combating AIDS in Africa.
At the gate, each of the 2,534 people in attendance were asked to donate one dollar, and the amount raised will be matched by both the Notre Dame soccer Camps as well as by an anonymous soccer alumnus.
“Last year we gave $7500 so hopefully we can come up close around there this time,” Clark said.