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Donohue gets weekly awards after big game

Matt Gamber | Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In 24 games as a sophomore, Dave Donohue tallied three goals and an assist.

In Thursday’s 4-1 win over Marquette, Donohue tallied three goals and an assist.

The Irish junior midfielder earned Big East offensive player of the week honors and a spot on the College Soccer News’ national team of the week – not bad for a guy whose goals are “just a bonus,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said.

“The goals are great and he’ll have his special days, but it’s what he does when the other team’s got possession that’s most important to our team,” Clark said. “He’s a great example to the team because of his work ethic and his ability work when we don’t have the ball, pressing the other team.”

Donohue leads No. 3 Notre Dame (4-1, 1-0 Big East) in goals (four), assists (three) and points (11) – all of which are new career highs after he played in every game last year.

“I came off the bench more last year, trying to come in and raise the tempo,” Donohue said. “This year, I earned a starting spot, and I’m really trying to focus on getting more crosses in and getting to the back post and picking up goals there.”

Donohue’s sudden scoring surge is a welcome surprise for the Irish, who entered the season with the tough task of replacing Joe Lapira, the 2006 Hermann Trophy winner who left Notre Dame with 42 career goals.

The Irish, however, weren’t concerned, even after being shutout 3-0 in their opener against Akron.

“As a team coming in we had no concern about who’s going to score goals,” Donohue said. “We believe in each other, and we know if we do the little things and win our individual battles, it will turn into a team win.”

That formula has proved to be a winning one thus far for the Irish, who have outscored their opponents 15-3 in their four wins.

But it hasn’t just been Donohue. Junior midfielder Michael Thomas and senior forward Bright Dike each have three goals, and junior midfielder Justin Morrow has scored twice.

Sophomore midfielder Jeb Brovsky, sophomore forward/midfielder Josh Thiermann and sophomore forward Steven Perry each have broken onto the score sheet once, as well.

“There’s quite a few other guys who have got the potential,” Clark said. “Morrow’s scoring nicely, and a couple of other guys haven’t gotten in there yet but have it in them, too. Thiermann should get some goals, and [freshman midfielder/forward] Brendan King’s someone who has terrific ability to score – his time will come.”

The time appears to be now, though, for Donohue and his Notre Dame teammates. The team has become a tighter, balanced unit through just a few weeks, and the Irish appear to be only picking up steam as the Big East slate heats up with a home match Friday against St. John’s.

“The team has learned a lot about each other through the first five games,” Donohue said. “We’ve really developed the team mentality, and we know we can score goals and win games. Each game has just been learning more and more about each other.”

As for Donohue? Clark just wants him to keep the ball rolling – into the net.

“We’re just hoping he can beat [his career highs] again and keep scoring goals,” Clark said. “Three goals is quite an achievement – you don’t do it every day.”