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Men’s Soccer: ND beats DePaul, but falls to South Florida

Jared Jedick | Monday, September 21, 2009

Despite strong play all weekend long, the No. 21 Irish only managed a split during their weekend road trip, beating DePaul 2-1 in Chicago but falling to No. 5 South Florida in Tampa by the same margin.

Irish coach Bobby Clark thought the team was well prepared for both games, and was disappointed the team was not able to pull out both wins.

“It is never acceptable to lose,” Clark said. “We were more than capable of winning both games.”

The weekend opened on Friday with a quick jaunt up to Chicago to take on DePaul.

The Irish were sparked by goals from junior forward Jeb Brovsky and senior forward Bright Dike to pull out the win in their first game of Big East play.

“It certainly was a hard fought game and not many teams come to Wish Field and win,” Clark said. “I felt it was a good performance and everyone worked hard. We’ll take it and move on.”

Notre Dame got on the board quickly when Brovsky slipped his way past the DePaul defense and deposited the ball into the upper right corner of the goal.

DePaul evened the score in the 26th minute when DePaul senior midfielder Mark Plotkin kicked the ball over senior goalkeeper Phillip Tuttle from thirty yards out. The score remained knotted at 1-1 until halftime.

The game stayed tight until Dike snuck behind the defense and received a ball from senior midfielder Michael Thomas and put the ball in the back of the net with thirty minutes left in the game to put the Irish ahead 2-1. That score would hold up in a game that Clark felt the team was hard put to come out on top of.

“We were very good in the second half. The first half was a little sloppy,” Clark said. “I felt that in Friday’s game we were just able to scrape out a result against DePaul, while against South Florida I thought we played very well and deserved the result.”

That result was not as positive in Tampa, however, as the Bulls were able to pull out a 2-1 win on a late goal in the second half.

The match was one Clark felt the team was ready for, despite the difficulty in travelling all the way to Florida.

“I believe we handled travelling very well and thought that the guys were ready to play,” Clark said. “It was disappointing not to get more this weekend.”

The elements were against the Irish, however, as the heat was bad enough to force two Irish players to come out of the game – senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn and sophomore defenseman Chris Sutton.

“It was very, very hot and humid out there today,” Clark said. “I do not think that I have ever seen in my career two players go out to heat in one game before.”

Clark said that Sutton and Quinn seemed to be doing alright after the game, and will be evaluated further upon returning to Notre Dame.

“They are both okay. But in a situation you cannot mess about and we will certainly check them out further,” Clark said.

South Florida was able to strike first against the Irish, notching a goal only five minutes into the game off the boot of freshman forward Hasani Sinclair to put the Bulls ahead 1-0, a score that would hold up until halftime.

The Irish were unable to get one past the Bulls’ defense for most of the game, despite owning a 13-10 advantage in shots and an 8-4 advantage in corner kicks.

Notre Dame seemed to break through 78th minute when Dike received a pass from sophomore midfielder Michael Rose and was able to knot the game up at 1-1. The assist was Rose’s first point of his young career, and Dike notched his team-leading fifth goal of the season.

The tie was short-lived, however, as Bulls senior midfielder Jorge Mora scored just six minutes later, giving South Florida the 2-1 victory.

“We lost that early goal and I thought we looked a little nervous early on,” Clark said. “But I thought we played awfully well. I felt we controlled large portions of the game.”

The Irish will next be in action at home against Louisville on Friday and Cincinnati on Sunday in more Big East play.