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Men’s Soccer: Golden Goals

Joe Meixell | Thursday, September 28, 2006

Unlike many of its games this season, Notre Dame’s game against Marquette was never in doubt.

The Irish scored goals on two of their first three shots and never looked back, cruising to a 4-0 victory Wednesday night at Alumni Field.

With the win, Notre Dame improved its record to 6-3-2 (4-2-0 Big East) on the season. By picking up three conference points, the Irish will – at worst – remain alone in fifth place in the Big East Blue Division, and they have a chance to catch either Seton Hall or Providence.

Like many other Irish opponents this season, Marquette was unable to stop Notre Dame forward Joseph Lapira. With goals in the second and eleventh minutes, Lapira brought his season total to 11 and padded his lead as the Big East’s leading goal scorer.

“Joe Lapira is Joe Lapira. He scores goals,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “He’s a one man wrecking crew at the moment.”

Lapira played the entire first half for only the second time this season. Previously, Clark has elected to use more of a four-man rotation up top with Lapira, Justin McGeeney, Kurt Martin and Bright Dike.

“We wanted to emphasize the game wasn’t over,” Clark said. “[Lapira] is just such an important player to the team at the moment, and we wanted the team to know that the game was still alive.”

It wouldn’t be until the 73rd minute that Notre Dame put the game away for good. Senior midfielder Nate Norman scored a brilliant individual goal after he weaved his way through multiple defenders and unleashed a shot into the corner of the goal from just inside the penalty area. Norman, who leads the team in assists, put his name on the scorers chart for the first time this season.

“Once Norman’s goal went in, that was it for [Marquette],” Clark said. “There was no way back.”

Dike put the finishing touches on the game, scoring Notre Dame’s final goal in the 82nd minute. After muscling his defender out of the way to control a ball out of the air, the sophomore forward took a touch toward goal and ripped a shot from just inside the 18-yard box into the lower corner of the net.

“We followed up well [from Saturday’s win over Pittsburgh],” Clark said. “It was as comprehensive a 90 minutes as we’ve played all season.”

The Irish, who have won two consecutive Big East games, have built up some momentum just in time for Saturday’s showdown with Seton Hall. The Pirates are currently in fourth place in the Blue Division, one spot ahead of Notre Dame.

Notes:

u Senior midfielder Ian Etherington did not play in Wednesday night’s game after suffering a deep bone bruise against Pittsburgh on Saturday. Sophomore Cory Rellas started in Etherington’s place. Clark did not know how long Etherington would be out.