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Men’s soccer: Former Aide returns as opponent

Eric Retter | Friday, October 6, 2006

Georgetown’s first-year head coach Brian Wiese has a mentor who is well known in South Bend – Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. Before taking over the Hoyas’ program, Wiese had spent 10 years as an assistant under Clark, five at Stanford and five at Notre Dame.

Clark said Weise will come into Saturday’s noon matchup with Notre Dame with a far superior knowledge of the Irish roster than any other Notre Dame opponent.

“If anyone knows the way we play and our players, it’s Brian Weise,” Clark said. “That’s going to be something we’ll have to deal with. He’ll know us better than anyone else in the country outside our own staff.”

Clark, however, said that No. 8 Notre Dame won’t be changing its game plan.

“We always just play the way we play,” he said. “Our players have got to be mentally tough. We’re going to do what we do, [but] we’ve just got to be able to do it well.”

The Irish (8-3-2, 5-2-0 Big East) will be led by standout striker Joseph Lapira. Lapira has been the main focus of the Notre Dame offense the last few weeks – scoring two goals in each of the last four games – and he currently leads the nation with 15 goals. Lapira is ahead of Winthrop’s Saidi Isaac by one goal.

While Lapira has scored all of the Notre Dame goals in each of the last two games, Clark is not concerned that his striker is being asked to do too much.

“The nice thing is, all the goals have been provided by different people, and there’s a lot of great passes [coming from other players],” Clark said. “He’s our furthest up striker, [and] he’s the one that’s going to get most of our goals. That’s his position.”

However, Clark says the Irish would still benefit people putting the ball in the back of the net.

“Just by nature of his position, he should be the guy [who gets most of the goals], but it would be nice if the other guys can score now and again,” he said.

Defensively, the Irish will rely on the efforts of senior goalkeeper Chris Cahill. Cahill has given up just one goal in the past five games, and has kept a clean sheet in each of the last three games.

The Hoyas (4-8-0, 1-5-0 Big East) will be led by forward Ricky Schramm, who leads the team with eight goals.

Georgetown is coming off a 5-0 rout of Howard Tuesday, their most lopsided decision of the season.

“They’re coming of a big victory, [so] they’re obviously going to be very confident,” Clark said.

The Hoyas also enter with a history of upsetting the Irish. Last season, Georgetown, which finished 10-9-1 and 6-5-0 in the Big East, defeated Notre Dame, which ended up going 12-8-3 and advancing to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament, 1-0.

“They’re a team that’s been a spoiler for us,” Clark said.

Clark anticipated that any momentum that Georgetown may have entering the game would be negated by the Irish’s own momentum, as the team is currently in the midst of a season-high four game win streak.

He also hoped that the atmosphere surrounding Saturday’s football game, which begins two-and-a-half hours after the soccer game does, would spill into Alumni Field.

“I hope plenty of people come to see us play,” he said. “It’s always very difficult to play on a football Saturday. We’ve tried playing after the games, and we always felt it was a little bit of a flat game, and we hope that a lot of fans will come out and cheer on the Irish.”