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MEN’S SOCCER: Lightning start on the road

Pat Leonard | Monday, September 1, 2003

At 31:24 in Bloomington, Ind., the clock stopped.

Heavy rain and lightning halted a match on Friday between No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 20 Alabama-Birmingham. The teams resumed play after a delay, but each squad had lost a step in the wait.

Still, the Irish escaped that game in a scoreless tie and later defeated No. 11 California, 2-1, in double overtime Saturday to finish the first weekend of the regular season with a record of 1-0-1.

Notre Dame out shot Birmingham 18-10 in the first game of the Notre Dame adidas/IU Credit Union Classic. Birmingham goalie Alberto Robles made nine saves and five in the first half. Still, the break in action slowed the Irish momentum.

“We lost our edge a little bit due to the delay,” coach Bobby Clark said. “We started sharply, but with the delay, it became a very long evening, which was unfortunate for both teams.”

Irish keeper Chris Sawyer made three saves in the game and reserve midfielder Nate Norman led the team with three shots.

The win over California came as a result of two timely goals by forward Devon Prescod. Cal’s Carl Acosta tallied first on a head ball at the 2:42 mark of the second half. Prescod, however, netted a game-tying goal at the 80:07 mark and the game-winner 1:10 into the second overtime to beat the Golden Bears. Justin Detter and Kevin Goldthwaite assisted on the goals, respectively.

Clark spread credit around for both goals.

“Both goals were team goals,” he said. “Justin and Kevin both made great passes on great team plays, and Devon happened to be the man with the ball at the end. There were some nice combinations.”

The Irish controlled play in the majority of both games. They out shot both opponents (13-8 against Cal) and played solid defense all weekend, which includes holding the Golden Bears to zero shots in the two overtime periods.

Without a loss and still near the top of the polls after the first weekend, Clark can be nothing but pleased.

“This was a good start, a very solid start,” he said. “Both teams were excellent teams, but we clearly out shot both teams and carried the play in both games. We dominated and looked really strong, as well. In the Cal game, we got behind, and that’s always a good test. We got leadership from the seniors and played a lot of boys who had an impact on both games.”

The Irish host their regular season opener at Alumni Field against No. 5 St. John’s at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.