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Men’s Soccer: Irish can clinch Big East with win

Dan Murphy | Friday, November 2, 2007

No. 9 Notre Dame closes out its regular season Saturday at North Kehoe Field in Washington, D.C., when it takes on conference foe Georgetown.

The Irish can clinch first place in the Big East and a top seed in the conference tournament with a win over the Hoyas. Notre Dame is looking to take home its second regular season championship in as many years.

“One of goals for the year is to win the league. Your record in the league is a true measure of success, and being champion is as good as you can get,” Clark said Sunday, following Notre Dame’s 2-2 draw with Providence.

The Irish could have sealed the division with a win against the Friars, but the draw kept Connecticut in the hunt for first place. Connecticut still has an opportunity to capture the division if Notre Dame loses to Georgetown. The Huskies are only two points behind the Irish in the standings.

Notre Dame (10-3-4, 7-0-3) is the only undefeated team left in the league and, with a win, will tie a program record for conference wins in a season.

Georgetown comes into the contest with a 5-5 conference record, but has won three straight in the Big East to close out the season. The Hoyas are 4-1 overall in their last five games with their only loss being a 2-1 battle with a tough Maryland squad. The Terrapins also defeated Notre Dame earlier in the season 3-0 at the Adidas/IU Classic.

The Hoyas have struggled to produce on offense this season. The team’s leading scorer, Chandler Diggs, has netted three goals and three assists. Sean Bellomy and Corey Zeller have also racked up three goals so far on the season. As a team, Georgetown is averaging less than a goal per game.

Irish senior Chris Cahill has been one of the top goalkeepers in the conference this year, and will be looking to add a seventh shutout to his resume this season. Cahill boasts a 0.87 goals against average and a record of 9-2-4.

On offense, Notre Dame has been led once again by senior forward Joseph Lapira. Lapira, last year’s M.A.C. Hermann Award winner, has caught fire in the last few weeks of his college career with two assists in his past two games. He leads the team with 20 points and eight assists. He is also tied with fifth-year senior Ryan Miller for the lead in goals scored; both players netted six.

Lapira scored two goals last season against the Hoyas to lead Notre Dame to an easy 4-1 victory at Alumni Field. Notre Dame has won nine of the 17 games between the two teams in their history, but is only 2-4 against the Hoyas on their own turf.

As long as his team prepares well, Clark said, he’s confident Notre Dame will be able to come away with a win and clinch the conference.

“We know every team in the Big East can beat us, but if we do things properly we can beat every team in the Big East,” he said.