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Team ties UMass in shutout

Matt Puglisi | Monday, August 30, 2004

If they don’t score, you can’t lose.Behind its second straight shutout in as many exhibition games, No. 9 Notre Dame battled Massachusetts to a hard-fought 0-0 tie Saturday night to conclude their brief two-game preseason schedule with a 1-0-1 mark.”I thought we dominated the game,” head coach Bobby Clark said. “UMass competed very hard; they were well organized, and they fought us every inch of the way, but I think we controlled the game.”After recording a clean sheet in Monday’s 2-0 victory over Northwestern at Alumni Field, 2004 Preseason Big East Goalkeeper of the Year Chris Sawyer once again held the opposition scoreless, picking up three saves in shutting down the Minutemen for 75 minutes before being replaced by Justin Michaud.In a game that featured a meager 14 total shots – only six of which were on-net – neither team was able to break the scoreless deadlock, though the Irish suffered a number of near-misses. In addition to a pair of shots that ricocheted off the framework by midfielder Ian Etherington and forward Alex Yoshinaga, Etherington had a goal disallowed on an offsides call that game tape later revealed to be erroneous. While the Irish were unable to find the back the net, Clark was still quite pleased with the squad’s effort.”You always like to win every game you play, but the thing that will always concern us the most is the performance,” Clark said. “If we can get the performance right, over the long term, it’s going to bring results.”After graduating five All-Big East selections that accounted for 35 of 38 Notre Dame goals last year, the offense will continue to function as a key factor in determining whether or not the Irish will be successful in achieving their lofty goals this season. While Saturday’s goose egg in the goals column might indicate otherwise, Clark is confident that a different offensive approach – one that emphasizes a greater number of players than in previous seasons – will bear fruit in the form of tallies on the scoreboard.”The scoring really fell to two main players last year,” Clark said. “I think the way to cover that is to get goals from a lot of different areas and not rely on solely one or two guys.”Can we actually get goals from four, five or even six different areas? I think that’s possible this year.”With the preseason now in the books, the Irish head home for a week before traveling south to Bloomington, Ind. to compete in Indiana’s Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic Friday and Sunday against Oregon State and Boston University, respectively.