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Irish anticipate challenges

Kate Gales | Friday, October 15, 2004

They’re on the road again.

While students depart for various fall break destinations, the men’s soccer team will be en route to some of its toughest conference tests this season.

On Saturday, the team faces St. John’s in a rematch of last year’s Big East tournament championship game. On Wednesday, they are scheduled to take on Seton Hall and finish the break on Oct. 23 against Rutgers.

“This road trip is probably going to decide who wins the Big East regular season,” senior co-captain Chris Sawyer said. “We definitely are very much looking forward to St. John’s on Saturday. We played them two tough games last year and we know they’re going to be a very, very tough team, so we’re just looking forward to it and trying to get ready.”

All three teams have been ranked at some point this season, with St. John’s most recently at No. 22 last week. The Irish are on top of the Big East standings, however, with a 5-1-0 record posted in conference play.

“We’ve set ourselves up to be in a really good position to take the league over the road trip,” midfielder Greg Dalby said. “We can clinch the Big East if we do well, take care of business.”

The Irish ride a six-game shutout streak into the road trip, most recently posting a 3-0 win over Michigan on Wednesday night.

Although it is a team principle to look only at the next game on the schedule, the Irish fall break road trip is a tradition in the program.

“This is typical fall break procedure for us,” Sawyer said. “We know coming up to fall break we’re going to be on a week-long road trip, playing three games, that’s how it is every single year.”

However, a week away from campus isn’t the chore that some might think.

“They schedule it like that so we don’t have to miss classes when we don’t need to,” Sawyer said. “But I think all the guys like being on the road together. If we’re going to be off for fall break, we may as well be together on the road.”

The attitude of teamwork should help the Irish as they face the tough stretch of scheduling.