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Men’s Soccer: Seniors Perry and Brovsky lead NCAA tourney run

Chris Allen | Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The arrival of fall at Notre Dame brings with it a few certain facts — the days will get shorter, the temperature colder, the leaves will change color and Bobby Clark will lead his Irish squad to the NCAA tournament.

The 2010 year was business as usual for the Notre Dame coach, as the Irish (10-6-4) rode the goal scoring of senior forward Steven Perry and the leadership of a deep senior class to their 10th straight NCAA appearance under Clark. The team fell 2-1 to Dartmouth on a golden goal in extra time during the second round. Clark said the bitter defeat at the hands of a familiar foe — Clark coached at Dartmouth for nine seasons — came at the end of a well-played season.

“I always say it’s a good season to reach the NCAA tournament, and a great one if you can advance and reach the College Cup,” he said. “To be the ninth overall seed out of 200 teams in college soccer, that’s the top five percent. That’s where we want to be. We needed to have taken full advantage of our good placement, however. If you look at professional soccer, the best team rarely wins in a cup format.”

Coming off an 11-8-4 campaign in 2009, Clark and the Irish had to replace the production of the Big East’s lead goal-scorer Bright Dike, who currently plays for the Major League Soccer team the Portland Timbers. Graduated midfielder Justin Morrow also left a gap on the field when he went to play for the San Jose Earthquakes. The holes were ably filled by the senior duo of Perry and midfielder Jeb Brovsky.

Perry took over for Dike as the Big East’s top goal-scorer with 12 goals on the campaign, and also led the conference in points (28), shots (73) and game-winning goals (five) en route to nabbing a unanimous first-team all-Big East selection. Brovsky started every game in the midfield for the Irish, leading a young group of midfielders and tallying four goals and an assist, garnering first-team all-Big East honors. The two conference first-teamers led a group of seniors that Clark said have been the most spirited group he has coached at Notre Dame.

“The biggest positive of the season was that the group of seniors was just a terrific group,” Clark said. “There was as good group harmony as I’ve had since I’ve been coaching here, and the credit goes to the senior class. They’re a very positive group, and they were even more excited about the program as seniors than they were as freshmen.”

Clark said another highlight of the season was senior captain and goalkeeper Philip Tuttle’s return from a preseason meniscus injury to start 13 games for Notre Dame.

“Initially the prognosis was that he might miss the whole season, but Phil as a captain told the team ‘I’ll be at every practice,'” Clark said. “From there, he worked like an absolute Trojan, just worked so hard to get back in and have success for us.”

The success of the senior leaders came full circle when Brovsky, Perry and senior right back Bilal Duckett were chosen in the MLS SuperDraft, and Tuttle was chosen in the supplemental SuperDraft. Clark said the selections underscored a larger victory.

“What’s more important is that all four are going to graduate,” he said.