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Men’s Soccer: Hodan lifts ND into semifinals

Joseph Monardo | Monday, November 5, 2012

After falling behind 2-0, the No. 5 Irish nailed four straight goals to overpower Syracuse in the Big East quarterfinals Saturday. The Irish advanced to the conference semifinals to face No. 6 Connecticut on Friday.

Notre Dame (14-3-1, 5-2-1 Big East) captured the victory behind an outstanding performance from freshman midfielder Patrick Hodan, who had two goals and an assist against the Orange (12-6-0, 5-3-0). The four goals scored by Notre Dame represented the largest offensive output by any Irish team in Big East tournament play.

The Irish fell behind in the 15th minute when Orange senior midfielder Ted Cribley deposited the home team’s first goal. The Irish trailed 1-0 at halftime and allowed a second goal in the 49th minute, this one to senior midfielder Louis Clark. Orange senior forward Lars Muller assisted on both Syracuse scores.

“We actually didn’t play too badly,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said of his team’s first-half play. “[When they scored the first goal] we were actually attacking on their box, and we topped the ball over and they just transitioned very quickly and very well. And then we actually got ourselves in the game and were playing reasonably well – couldn’t get any goals but we were playing pretty well. And then halftime I felt pretty good about our situation, even a goal down.”

The field’s wet conditions played a part in Syracuse’s second goal early in the second half, Clark said.

“[At] the start of the second half, [Louis Clark] hits a shot, a decent shot, but it was one I think normally Patrick Wall would save, but he slipped. … He moved to make the save and his foot came out from under him. Suddenly we were 2-0 down.”

Clark said he was impressed with his team’s ability to fight back from the deficit in the second half.

“I thought the team showed excellent character, I mean nobody missed a beat,” he said. “They rolled up their sleeves and got back to business and we really played superbly well in that second period.”

Notre Dame managed to put one past Syracuse freshman goalkeeper Alex Bono in the 63rd minute when Hodan netted a shot from 15 yards out. Nineteen seconds later Hodan delivered an assist on Irish senior midfielder Kyle Richard’s goal to even the score.

In the 77th minute, the freshman scored his second goal of the night – and sixth of the season – to put the Irish in the lead off an assist from senior forward Ryan Finley. Finley finished the night’s scoring with an insurance goal in the 84th minute to push the Irish advantage to 4-2. Junior forward Harrison Shipp assisted on the goal, Finley’s team-high 18th of the year.

“It was great to get the insurance goal,” Clark said. “Harry Shipp really did the speed work for that goal and he slipped it to Ryan. Ryan tucked it away. Obviously once it was 4-2 with less than 10 minutes to go it was pretty well all over.”

After outscoring Syracuse 4-1 in the closing period Notre Dame holds a 32-4 advantage over its opponents in second-half goals this season.

“Our big goals mainly come in the second half,” Clark said. “I think games sort of open up, games get split open in the second period of the game … We’ve got a lot of really creative players … [who] really come into their own at that time. And then of course you’ve got Ryan who is a lethal finisher.”

With a berth in the championship game on the line, Blue Division No. 3 seed Notre Dame will take on Blue Division No. 1 seed Connecticut on Friday in the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.


Contact Joseph Monardo at jmonardo@nd.edu