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Men’s Soccer: Unbeaten streak comes to an end

Greg Arbogast | Thursday, October 11, 2007

No. 3 Notre Dame saw its nine-game unbeaten streak washed away in the rains of East Lansing Wednesday afternoon as the Irish fell 1-0 to Michigan State at Old College Field.The loss was Notre Dame’s first since a 3-0 defeat Sept. 2 at the hands of Maryland, and the Irish are now 8-2-2 on the season. Notre Dame still has a perfect mark of 5-0-1 in Big East play. Michigan State, coming off its first loss of the season last Saturday against Indiana, improved to 8-1-2 on the year.”[Michigan State] is a team playing with confidence,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “They lost at Indiana last Saturday, but according to their coach, they felt they should have won the game. For the moment, they’re very confident.”In failing to score Wednesday against the Spartans, Notre Dame was held scoreless for only the second time in its last 26 matches, but it wasn’t due to a lack of chances.The Irish out-shot Michigan State 17-12 and held a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal. The Spartan defense had three team saves on the night with two coming in the 57th minute when the Spartan defense cleared two consecutive Notre Dame shots off the goal line. “If one of those goes in, it’s a completely different game,” Clark said. “I felt we had the bulk of the game, but they were very dangerous on the break. They broke intelligently, and they caused us a bit of problems.”Seven minutes after Notre Dame’s missed chances, a Spartan break opened the scoring. The play started near midfield when Michigan State senior Dave Hertel fed forward Kenzo Webster, who proceeded to beat two Irish defenders down the right side of the 18-yard box. Webster then slotted a ball toward the top of the box where onrushing midfielder Spencer Thompson booted it past Notre Dame keeper Chris Cahill.The goal was the first allowed in more than 321 minutes for Cahill – a season-long scoreless streak. Cahill suffered his first loss of the season, and Notre Dame’s record is at 7-1-2 with Cahill in goal.After Michigan State’s goal, the Irish pushed for the tie. Sophomore midfielders Justin led Notre Dame in shots with four apiece and shots on goal with two apiece. Ultimately, the Irish could not get past Spartan goalie Chris Austin, who had four saves on the night.”You’ve got to find a way to get a goal,” Clark said. “I think if we had been able to tie the game, we would have come out with a good chance of winning the game.” Notre Dame will return to Big East play Saturday when it takes on No. 1 Connecticut at Alumni Field. The game carries Big East standings implications as the Huskies currently hold a two-point lead over the Irish for first place in the Big East Blue Division. Clark also sees this Saturday’s game as a chance for his team to rebound from Wednesday’s loss.”The greatest thing for us is that we get to play the number one team in the country Saturday,” Clark said, in reference to what he told his team after the game. “You don’t get a better opportunity to rebound from a disappointment. You can’t ask for more than that.”