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Men’s Soccer: Irish fall to Indiana

Dan Murphy | Thursday, October 18, 2007

For the third straight game, Notre Dame failed to put another tally in the win column.

The No. 4 Irish lost to No. 12 Indiana 3-2 in a back and forth game Wednesday night at Alumni Field.

The Irish (8-3-3) are now 4-4 against their in-state rivals since Bobby Clark took over the reins in 2000.

Things looked good for Notre Dame early on. The Irish came out and dominated the first 15 minutes of play, but the pace of the game slowed to a lull after that.

The Irish struck first when senior forward Kurt Martin slipped a pass through a Hoosier defender’s legs to classmate Joseph Lapira. Lapira took a touch and then fired the ball low and to the left, beating goalkeeper Chay Cain for a 1-0 lead.

“I think I’m feeling a bit more comfortable,” Lapira said. “I’ve been coming on and off of injuries all year and hopefully I’m coming into it now.”

Lapira, who now has six goals on the season, scored two for the Irish for the second straight game. He also had two in a 3-3 tie with No. 1 Connecticut Saturday. Last year’s Hermann Trophy winner has struggled to produce offensively so far this year but seems to be hitting his stride as the postseason nears.

“He is doing exactly the same thing. He’s just putting them in the net now,” Clark said.

Lapira’s second goal tied the game at 2-2 with just under 17 minutes remaining.

Indiana had taken the lead only a few minutes earlier when Eric Alexander found Kevin Noschang on a transition play, and Noschang was able to sneak it under a diving Chris Cahill to give the Hoosiers a one-goal advantage. The senior forward leads the Hoosiers with five goals so far this season.

The lead vanished temporarily when Indiana sophomore Kevin Alston misplayed a ball in the box, allowing Lapira to put in his second of the game, but the Hoosiers answered quickly.

“We don’t pick up second balls, and their midfield really did a great job in picking up second balls,” Clark said. “I think that was the difference in the game today.”

The game winner, like Noschang’s goal, came after the Hoosiers won a free ball in transition. Noschang took over at midfield, and he and Neil Wilmarth sprinted down field with two Irish defenders. Both defenders collapsed on the ball, leaving Wilmarth wide open for an easy finish.

“That’s two games in a row we’ve given up three goals, so we need to look at ourselves,” Clark said.

Prior to the 3-3 tie with Connecticut, the Irish defense had surrendered three or more goals only once before this season in a 3-0 loss to Maryland Sept. 2.

Notre Dame will look to solidify its defense against Seton Hall Sunday in its final home game of the regular season.

“I think we’re very good at bouncing back from losses,” Lapira said. “I think we’ll come out on senior day and show why we’ve been here for four years kicking some rear end.”