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Crouse, High impress in back-to-back wins

Kate Gales | Monday, September 6, 2004

Four goals. Three days of tournament play. Two games. And one best-ever 2-0 start for men’s soccer head coach Bobby Clark.The Irish opened the season with back-to-back victories against Oregon State on Friday and Boston University on Sunday. Defender Jack Stewart came through offensively with goals in each contest, and Nate Norman put up the winning assist in Friday’s 2-1 victory and scored an unassisted goal to seal Sunday’s 2-0 shutout.”It took us a little while to settle in,” assistant coach Brian Wiese said. “Call it first game jitters … but after we lost that first goal, we settled down and played some very good soccer.”Clark was unavailable for comment.Oregon State struck first in Friday’s match, slipping one past standout goalkeeper Chris Sawyer. Two of the starting defenders, tri-captain Kevin Goldthwaite and Dale Rellas, were out with injuries, forcing Ben Crouse and Chris High to fill in on the back line.”That’s why you have a deep team,” Wiese said. “We didn’t miss a beat. [Crouse and High] were fabulous for us. It’s a credit to them and us that we’re able to run along with losing two of the best defenders in the Big East.”After the goal, which came off a corner kick for Oregon State in the first five minutes, Sawyer would not see a ball behind him for the rest of the weekend.Stewart penetrated the opponent’s defense at 36:11, while forward Justin McGeeney added the game-winner at 48:42. Norman and Alex Yoshinaga were credited with assists for the Irish.”Oregon State was a very direct long ball team, we had to compete in the air and we struggled with that a little bit,” Wiese said. “Boston was very conservative, they had a lot of people behind the ball … I don’t even think they had a shot until maybe 15 or 20 minutes into play today.”Stewart struck again on Sunday, hitting the net with John Stephens’ assist at 32:59 to put the Irish on top for good. In the 60th minute, Norman would demonstrate his offensive mindset by padding the Irish lead with an unassisted blast.The Irish were named runner-up in the adidas/IU Credit Union tournament, losing 6-4 on a goals-scored tiebreaker to host Indiana University. Both teams went 2-0 over the weekend. Stewart, Sawyer and McGeeney were named to the All-Tournament team.”Every year it’s a different team,” Wiese said. “It’s new players and I think we have a good blend of experienced players and those with some youth on the team.”Wiese is happy with the team’s progression so far.”We’re happy with where we are at this stage of the season, for sure,” he said. “We all recognize that there’s a lot of growing to do, [but] we got two wins.”The Irish have the week off before hosting the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament with Evansville, CS Fullerton and Indiana University next weekend.”It’s important to get off on the right foot… we know we have a lot to do to get better,” Wiese said. “The goal is to get better every week and if we get better every week, well be in a good position to make some noise in the postseason.”