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ND Men’s Soccer: Irish claim pair of road shutouts

Dan Murphy | Monday, September 24, 2007

No. 3 Notre Dame improved to 3-0 in the Big East with a pair of shutouts over Rutgers and Villanova on the road this weekend.

Irish goalkeepers Chris Cahill and Andrew Quinn have allowed only one goal since a 3-0 loss to Maryland at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic on Sept. 2. Notre Dame (5-1-1) has yet to give up a goal in conference play.

“You can’t really ask for a lot more than that,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “That is a perfect way to start.”

Notre Dame 2, Rutgers 0

Fifth-year senior Ryan Miller picked up a career-high three points to lead Notre Dame past Rutgers Friday night in front of 6,309 fans.

Miller got things started 35 minutes in to the game when he crossed the ball to sophomore midfielder Dave Donohue. Donohue dove through the air and headed the ball past Rutgers goalkeeper Matt VanOekel to put the Irish on the scoreboard.

Miller added a goal of his own 30 minutes later. He received a pass from senior forward Joseph Lapira on the right side, beat one of the Scarlet Knight defenders, and then snuck a low shot into the far corner for his first strike of the season.

“He is one of the best players in the country,” Clark said. “He has pace, he has ability, and he is dangerous.”

The entire Irish offense looked dangerous Friday night in Piscataway, N.J. Notre Dame outshot the Scarlet Knights 22-10 in the game and 12-1 in the first half. The team was able to keep constant pressure on Rutgers that led to a relatively easy night in net for Cahill. The senior had four saves in the game, which was shown on Fox Soccer Channel.

“I think we’ve built up a great reputation of being a very good team and everywhere we go we will play in front of a full house,” Clark said.

Notre Dame 1, Villanova 0

The Irish ended the Wildcats’ six-game winning streak Sunday in Philadelphia.

Notre Dame once again dominated the opening 45 minutes, holding a 14-3 advantage in shots on goal, but failed to score.

“We totally dominated both teams in the first half,” Clark said. “We didn’t do quite as well in the second half. We have to sit down with the video and come up with some answers for that.”

The Irish scored their lone goal in the 51st minute when sophomore Jeb Brovsky took advantage of a chance sparked by Lapira.

Lapira pushed the ball forward to Donohue on the left side. Donohue passed up a shot of his own and fed the open Brovsky on the far side. The sophomore took his time then drilled a low shot past Wildcat keeper Jason Friel.

Brovsky saw a lot of action in the second half because senior forward Kurt Martin was nursing an injury from the Rutgers game. The team’s depth has been clutch on many occasions so far this season.

“Key guys are out but the great part is that the younger guys have all been prepared to step up,” Clark said.

Martin is expected to return to action next weekend when Notre Dame comes home to face Cincinnati at Alumni Field Friday night. The Irish will also play Sunday against another Big East opponent, Louisville.

The only two games Notre Dame has not won this season have come on Sundays after playing earlier in the weekend. Clark hopes that the Irish put an end to that curse after Sunday’s win over Villanova.

“I think it might be psychological more than anything else,” he said. “Now we have broken that barrier and hopefully we should be fine from here on out.”