Men’s Soccer: ND extends unbeaten streak to 4
Molly Sammon | Monday, September 19, 2011
The Irish upped their unbeaten streak to four games with another two wins over the weekend. Notre Dame began the weekend with a 2-1 overtime win over Michigan at home Friday, before posting a 1-0 shutout over Michigan State on Sunday in East Lansing, Mich.
Senior midfielder Adam Mena scored both of the team’s goals against the Wolverines, the first in the 33rd minute and the second in the first minute of overtime, to lead the No. 16 Irish (4-1-2). Senior midfielder Greg Klazura assisted Mena on both goals.
“The game was funny because both goals were really replicas of one another,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said.
Mena also assisted sophomore forward Harry Shipp’s goal against Michigan State.
“Mena was very much involved this weekend,” Clark said. “He really had a hand in every goal this weekend with his two goals and assist.”
Michigan (2-5-1) got an early start Friday, as it scored in the 39th second of the match, catching senior goalkeeper Will Walsh off guard. In the eleventh minute, they almost scored again for a two-goal lead, but Walsh deflected the ball for his first of three saves against Michigan.
Notre Dame trailed Michigan in shots during the first half with seven to the Wolverines’ 10, but the Irish came back and outshot Michigan 15-7 in the second half.
“They gave us all we could handle in the first half. The first half was a very tough contest for us,” Clark said. “In the second half, we really took hold of the game.”
The Irish almost took the game in the 80th minute as a shot from junior forward Ryan Finley hit the crossbar and went over the goal.
Mena and Finley each lead the Irish with three goals this season.
“[The Wolverines] were a good team in the first half of the first half, and they seemed more alive in the game than we were at the beginning.” Clark said. “I was very proud of the way our team battled back and took command in the second half.”
Against the Spartans (1-5-1) at Michigan State’s Old College Field, Shipp’s goal in the 54th minute ultimately decided the game.
Though neither team scored before the half, the Irish established themselves offensively from the beginning of the match and outshot the Spartans 10-7 before the break. They continued the offensive domination in the second half with six shots to Michigan State’s three.
Though the Irish controlled the ball for most of the match, a one-goal advantage was not enough to remain relaxed on the field towards the end of the game. The Spartans picked up their offensive challenge in the last ten minutes, vying for the tying goal before the clock ran out.
“At a time like that, they’re just going to pile everything into your box,” Clark said. “You have got to handle that. There’s a lot of aerial service, a lot of stuff just lofted into your box. Your goalkeepers become very essential and important.”
Walsh had five saves against Michigan State and resisted the pressure of the desperate Spartan offense.
“The game became much more direct in the last 15 or 20 minutes,” Clark said. It became quite a physical game, but I thought we handled that very well.”
Notre Dame’s non-conference play concluded this weekend. The Irish will kickoff this season’s conference action against No. 3 Louisville. The Irish will take on the Cardinals at 7 p.m. Friday at Notre Dame’s Alumni Stadium.
Contact Molly Sammon at email@example.com