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Howell proves Irish scoring force in win

Dan Tapetillo | Monday, April 19, 2004

In his final home game at Moose Krause Stadium, senior Matt Howell turned in the best performance of his career Sunday.

Howell finished with five goals and three assists for a total of eight points as the Irish went on to defeat Fairfield 16-7.

Howell finished one point short of the school record of nine in one game, which has been done eight times. Howell was also one short of the six-goal record of most goals scored in a home game.

“Although he is a great player, one of the most notable qualities about him is how much of a leader he is on the field,” Irish midfielder Lucius Polk said.

Howell’s leadership has proven to be beneficial for the team as No. 14 Notre Dame has rebounded from a slow start earlier this season.

After beginning 1-4, Notre Dame is currently on a five-game winning streak, the longest since 2001 when the Irish won a school-record of nine.

“After the Loyola loss, everyone realized the predicament we were in,” Polk said. “It was our Colorado trip that gave us the ‘pick-me-up’ we needed because it has set the tone for the most recent games.”

Since the Air Force contest, the Irish have built an early lead in each match, and Sunday was not any different.

Howell opened the contest with an unassisted goal at 1:08 into the match. The Irish got out to a 2-0 lead, but this advantage was quickly erased as Fairfield scored three times within three minutes to take their only lead of the game.

Notre Dame went on to score five of the next seven goals with 6:45 remaining in the first half to make the score 7-5. The Irish then took control of the match holding Fairfield was scoreless for 25:42 and scoring eight consecutive goals for their biggest lead of the game 15-5.

Fairfield managed to score two of the last three goals of the game that resulted in a 16-7 victory for the Irish.

This is the fourth straight game Notre Dame has scored 12 or more goals. The Irish are currently first in the GWLL and third in the nation for scoring.

In the win, Notre Dame was without its entire starting midfield. Nonetheless, a strong performance was given by Polk, who finished with two goals and one assist for the second game in a row.

All-American Pat Walsh who is first in the GWLL and sixth nationally in scoring and assists did not score for the first time this season. Walsh however finished with three assists.

“His skills are priceless,” Polk said. “In addition to being a great ball handler, he is one of the smartest on the field and he makes our jobs a lot easier.”

Notre Dame will play its last game of the season against No. 3 Maryland on May 1 at 1 p.m.