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Men’s Soccer: Split Decision

Molly Sammon | Monday, September 5, 2011

The Irish split their two games at the season’s kickoff tournament, the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic, with a 4-1 win over Dayton Friday and a 2-1 double-overtime loss against Saint Louis on Sunday in Bloomington, Ind.

“There was no luck for the Irish this weekend,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said.

Against Dayton, junior forward Ryan Finley scored two of the four Irish goals, with sophomore forward Harrison Shipp and junior midfielder Dillon Powers adding a goal each to provide the additional scoring support.

“The first game was probably our best game we’ve played so far,” junior midfielder Dillon Powers said. “We had a lot of possession, which was one of our goals this year.”

From the beginning of the game, No. 10 Notre Dame (1-11) took the offensive upper hand with 13 shots to Dayton’s seven, out-shooting Flyers 25-13 for the entire game.

Dayton evened out the score in the 45th minute, just after Shipp put the first point on the board for the Irish. However, Notre Dame goalkeeper senior Will Walsh finished with four total saves to suppress the Flyers to one goal for the day.

Despite two overtimes, the Irish could not net a goal before Saint Louis, as Billikens midfielder Alex Johnston scored in the 104th minute of play, sealing Notre Dame’s first loss of the season.

“I actually thought we played better in the second game from a pure soccer point of view,” Clark said.

The Irish took the lead in the 33rd minute, as Finley capitalized off of a rebounded shot from Shipp and put the Irish up 1-0. But Saint Louis found a way to get in the game and eventually the back of the net.

“We could handle our pressure at the beginning of the second half,” Powers said. We had some very good chances, but we couldn’t put them away in the second half.”

In the 57th minute, Saint Louis responded with a goal and evened the game at 1-1.

Soon after the equalizing play, Finley received a red card and was ejected from the game, forcing the Irish to play with one less player and without their top scorer and crucial forward for the rest of the game.

“These things happen,” Clark said. “There was maybe a slight semblance of acting from the other team, but we played about 54 minutes plus the overtime one man down.”

Though the result of the game was a loss, Notre Dame outshot Saint Louis 22-10 in the match, 4-2 in overtime and 7-4 in corner kicks.

“We were clearly the dominate team, but soccer can be tough like that,” Clark said. “Unfortunately the only statistic that really counts are the goals. The other ones can look nice, but the only ones that matter are the goals.”

The Irish suffered their first loss of the regular season, and the Billikens claimed their first win in Sunday’s match.

“I really think, even with a man down, if we stick to our plan the way we know how to play, we’ll be successful,” Powers said.

Powers added that a loss with quality shots on goal and a strong offensive performance is a particularly tough loss to stomach.

“It’s a horrible feeling to have,” Powers said. “But now we can move that loss out of the way and look forward to the next game.”

As the season moves forward from this weekend, Clark said his team is right where he wants them to be.

“If they play as well as that and keep the tempo we had against Saint Louis, this team will come together quite nicely,” Clark said. “We’re very close I think, and we’re an exciting team to watch.”

Notre Dame will host the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament beginning Friday at Alumni Stadium. The tournament field includes Indiana, Bucknell and Denver.


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