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Men’s Soccer: Squad wins in new stadium

Laura Myers | Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Irish sent a big message Tuesday that they are ready to play with the big boys.

Senior forward Bright Dike scored three goals and No. 10 Notre Dame soundly defeated No. 21 Michigan 5-0 in their season opener and the first game played in the new Alumni Stadium.

“It was a fun night,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “To be fair I thought the score lied. Michigan is quite a young team and they have very good players. It wasn’t a five-nothing game where you could yawn. You were very happy to see the ball going in.”

And that was a sight that came often, especially in the second half.

“I think the team in general played better in the second half,” Dike said. “I had one of the most embarrassing misses in the first half, so maybe I was making up for that.”

Four minutes into the period, junior Stephen Perry untangled himself from several Michigan defenders to put the ball in and make the score 2-0 Irish.

Then Dike took over.

Dike came back into the game with 26:09 remaining and almost immediately ran the ball down the field to the goal. He lined up against Michigan defender Julian Robes but got the ball past him and into the net.

Less than eight minutes later, he again found the ball and streaked past every defender before once again netting the ball.

Only five minutes after that, Dike went for the hat trick by taking a well-placed kick from freshman forward Dillon Powers, who had just entered the game, and putting it in. His three quick goals made the score unreachable for the Wolverines.

“I was just fortunate for the ball to land in the right places,” Dike said.

The Irish were aggressive from the start but did not score a goal until 20 minutes left in the first half. Senior Jeb Brovsky recovered a loose ball in front of the Wolverine goal and kicked it in to make the score 1-0.

Brovsky had a scare earlier in the game when he and a Michigan forward collided; he was knocked down and remained there after the other players had moved on. Trainers came out, but he was able to get back up and did not leave the field.

Senior midfielder Cory Dellas was not so lucky – he went down hard early in the first half and had to leave the game with a knee injury.

“I hope he’ll be okay, we’ll find out. We’ve got doctors looking at him,” Clark said. “They didn’t want to put him back on, and maybe we’ll look at it tomorrow.”

Senior midfielder John Schaefer replaced the injured Dellas and helped the Irish defense, which allowed the Wolverines only four shots on goal.

“The defense did very well, especially after losing Corey,” Clark said. “We were worried, but John came in and I think he did a really, really good job. He’s a senior and hasn’t played a lot, and he came on and did really well.”

Alumni Stadium was packed with fans eager to see the team and the new stadium. Clark said he and the players were in awe of the new facility as well.

“I’ve walked on to some pretty big stadiums in my life,” he said. “But when I walked onto this stadium [Monday night] with the lights on, I’ll tell you I had as big a buzz as I ever had. The boys were so excited. They were just jumping.”

Notre Dame will be in action again this weekend at the Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic, where they will face No. 3 Wake Forest and No. 5 St. John’s.

“That will be another level up,” Clark said of the upcoming invitational. “We’ll be ready for them and we’re looking forward to it.”