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Men’s Soccer: Defending the homestead

Matt Gamber | Monday, September 8, 2008

No. 8 Notre Dame snuck by Dartmouth 2-1 Friday before blowing out No. 5 South Florida 5-0 Sunday to win the Hilton Garden Inn Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament, held at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame (3-1-0) has now won its last three games, scoring 11 goals in those matches after losing its season opener 3-0 to Akron on Aug. 29.

“This was a very good tournament,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “To come out on top of it with two good wins is a good start. And that’s all it is, a start. It maybe makes a statement that this team can score goals. … We have a lot of guys that can contribute and that’s very important.”

Junior midfielder Dave Donohue secured Friday’s win with the go-ahead goal in the 89th minute from sophomore forward Jeb Brovsky.

Notre Dame got on the board early thanks to junior midfielder Michael Thomas’ first goal of the season in the sixth minute. The Big Green tied it, however, just two minutes into the second half on a corner kick.

“I never felt comfortable in that game mainly because of how they handled their corner kick and long throws,” Clark said. “But, we stuck to it and I felt in the last 20 minutes we got a hold of things … Full marks to Dartmouth, they played very well.”

The Irish appeared to carry the momentum from Friday’s dramatic win into Sunday’s match with South Florida, a Big East team that Notre Dame is not scheduled to play during the conference season. The Irish victory will not count in the Big East standings.

Junior midfielder Justin Morrow started the scoring in 24th minute on an assist from senior forward Bright Dike. That began a string of four goals in 11 minutes for the Irish, who pressured the Bulls defense and created opportunities for shots and corner kicks.

In the 28th minute, Dike converted a corner from freshman Brendan King for his team-leading third goal. Sophomore midfielder Josh Thiermann did the same four minutes later, giving King his second assist of the day.

Thomas added an unassisted goal in the 35th minute and Brovsky capped the scoring with his first goal in the 78th minute.

“We started the game on Friday the exact same way that we started today,” Clark said. “We didn’t get the goals on Friday like we got the goals today … I thought it was a very workmanlike performance. A lot of people worked very, very hard and I feel the team is growing every game now and the trick is to keep it going.”

Senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn continues to establish himself as the prime man in net for the Irish, notching his first clean sheet of the season Sunday after a solid performance Friday.

In addition to bringing home the tournament’s team title, Thomas was named the offensive MVP while senior defender Matt Besler was selected as the tournament’s top defensive player. Donohue and Dike were also named to the all-tournament squad.

The Irish open Big East play at home Thursday against Marquette at 7 p.m.