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Men’s Soccer: Irish dominate Pitt at home

By Isaac Lorton | Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sheets of pouring rain did not stop the No. 10 Irish from routing Pittsburgh 7-1 and set a Big East record along the wayThe Irish took 36 shots in the match, the most shots taken since the Big East era began in 1995.with 36 shots.

This is the first time Notre Dame (9-2-0, 1-2-0 Big East) has scored seven goals in a match since 1997 against Western Michigan.

With this win against Pittsburgh (6-4-2, 0-3-0), Notre Dame notched its first -conference win and rebounded from its losses to Louisville and Connecticut while on a four-game road trip.

“It’s about time,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “We needed to win. We really needed that one. It came a little bit easier than I expected. Pittsburgh had been doing well; they were undefeated only 10 days ago. Maybe it was the long bus trip, but we seemed to catch them cold tonight. We will take the win and move on.”

Notre Dame’s first goal came in the 15th minute, as senior forward Danny O’Leary passed the ball off to forward Leon Brown who ripped a shot. The ball skipped off the wet ground, bounced off Pittsburgh sophomore goalkeeper Lee Johnston’s hands and ricocheted off the post. O’Leary followed through, put the ball in the wide-open net and finished the play he started for his first goal of the season.

Not letting up, O’Leary received a cross on the ground from junior defender Luke Mishu and placed it in the back of the net in the 20th minute for his second goal of the game and the season.

The third goal came in the 33rd minute from an individual effort by senior forward Ryan Finley. Finley received the ball at the top of the box, spun around one defender, sprinted past the second defender and put it in the far post.

The Irish were in complete control at the end of the first half with a score of 3-0 and dominated the shots category 17-5 in the stanza.

Coming out in the second half the Irish did not let up and finished strong.

“We talked about that at halftime,” Clark said. “We hadn’t put a team away for a little while; I mean really put a team away. If you don’t play honest throughout the whole game, you really disrespect the opposition. I think it is important to play honestly and fully the whole game.”

Freshman midfielder Patrick Hodan started the second half and did not waste his time, as he scored in the 51st minute. Hodan received a ball from senior captain midfielder Dylan Powers, beat a defender and put it past the keeper for his second goal of the season.

Not to be shut out, the Panthers caught the Irish defense off guard, played a through ball behind the defense and caught Irish junior goalkeeper Patrick Wall halfway between staying home and coming out. Panthers red-shirt freshman Ryan Myers shot the ball to the inside post for the score in the 59th minute.

“We were disappointed to lose the goal, to be quite honest,” Clark said. “We really wanted the shutout as well.”

The Irish did not stop there, however. In the 68th minute Finley received the ball outside the 18-yard box and took a shot which was deflected by a Pittsburgh defender and went into the net. His second goal of the game was Finley’s team-leading eighth goal of the season.

With a commanding lead some younger players and bench players got the opportunity to come into the game for Notre Dame.

“It was really important tonight to put the younger lads in,” Clark said. “All of the other games have been pretty tight and it was nice to get some new faces in.”

The Irish take the confidence from this offensive explosion forward as they look to defeat No. 3 Georgetown on Saturday at Alumni Field at 2 p.m.

Contact Isaac Lorton at ilorton@nd.edu