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Men’s Soccer: Preseason play continues

Eric Prister | Friday, August 27, 2010

Notre Dame will finish its three-game exhibition schedule with games against No. 18 Ohio State and Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne this weekend, after opening with a 3-2 victory over Illinois-Chicago Monday.

Irish coach Bobby Clark said he is trying to establish a good core group of players as well as to solidify their particular game plan as the Irish prepare for the regular season.

“In the first game, you wanted to try to get a result out of it, but at the same time, you wanted to try to peg down the team and how we’re going to play, and also try to get a look at some players,” Clark said.

Clark said his strategy will be to get each player some field time over the weekend by splitting the squad into two groups that will each play in one of the two games.

“I think what I’ll do is play the more experienced group in the Saturday night game because on paper, Ohio State is the more highly ranked team,” Clark said. “Then in the Sunday game against IPFW, I think I’ll play the lads who didn’t play in the Saturday game. We’ll try to give the whole team some game play.”

Ohio State finished last season with a 12-5-4 record and IPFW, the host school, closed the year at 6-11-2.

“It’s not a tryout,” Clark said “But every day they go out to practice is a tryout, because you’re always competing. We’ve got a pretty set system, and so you’re trying to peg down the system and get teamwork and cohesion within the group. At the same time, we’re looking for them to prove themselves to me, especially the new boys.

“They have to prove themselves to the team too, especially the freshman. It’s very important that they prove themselves to the upperclassmen and start to stake a claim and show everybody that they can play.”

The Irish defeated Illinois-Chicago in their first exhibition game, and Clark was impressed by the play of many, but particularly junior forward Michael Rose and senior midfielder Greg Klazura.

“It was good to see Rose back because we lost him at the end of last year with a broken ankle,” Clark said. “It was good to see him back and playing well, and I was really impressed with him. Greg Klazura was showing great willingness to get into the attacking area, so I thought that was good to see. There were a lot of guys with bits and pieces that were very good.”

Notre Dame will face Ohio State at 8 p.m. Saturday and IPFW at 2 p.m. Sunday. Both games will be played in Fort Wayne.