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Men’s Soccer: Win one, lose one

Jared Jedick | Monday, September 14, 2009

The No. 10 Irish split the eighth annual Hilton Garden Inn Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament this weekend with a convincing win against a hapless Seattle squad and a hard-fought overtime loss to New Mexico, 2-1. The results left the Irish finishing third in the tournament, with No. 12 Indiana taking first and New Mexico edging Notre Dame for second place in the head-to-head matchup.

The Irish opened up play well on Friday when they used a trio of scorers to best Seattle, 3-0, in a game that saw a dominating second half performance in the first ever meeting between the two soccer programs.

“At the end of the game, I think the result was well deserved,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “We give full credit to Seattle. I feel like they gave us everything we could handle in the first half.”

The Irish wasted no time jumping in front of Seattle, earning its first goal on a cross from senior forward Bright Dike to senior midfielder Justin Morrow, who placed the ball into the back of the net.

Notre Dame was able to maintain a stifling defense throughout the match, keeping Seattle from getting its first shot off until the 33rd minute.

The Irish had one more scoring threat in the waning moments of the first half when junior midfielder Josh Thiermann made a run into the box, but his shot went just right of the goalpost, leaving the score at 1-0 going into halftime.

The second half saw more dominance from Notre Dame, as they outshot Seattle 12-1 over the remainder of the game.

Senior midfielder Michael Thomas made the score 2-0 in the 60th minute as he booted a goal from the top of the box after a good pass from Thiermann.

Senior defender John Schaefer put the game out of reach in the 72nd minute when he picked off a rebound from Seattle senior goaltender Emerson de Oliveira and shot it into the back of the net.

Seattle was never able to recover from the 3-0 deficit and the Irish took home the victory.

“We outshot them 12-1 in the second half and it was a whole different ball game,” Clark said. “I thought the attitude was terrific in the second half and we need to bring that along in the first half sometimes as well.”

Notre Dame seemed to pick up right where it left off in the second game of the weekend Sunday with an early goal against New Mexico, but the game ended up going into overtime where the Lobos were able to emerge victorious 2-1.

New Mexico had a miscommunication in its own end and allowed an errant pass to go in as an own goal mere minutes into the start of the game.

The Irish were able to hold onto their lead for most of the first half as New Mexico seemed to have trouble recovering from the early mishap, but New Mexico senior forward Justin Davis scored in the 38th minute, knotting the score up at 1-1. That score would hold up through regulation play.

Overtime ended quickly as the Irish surrendered a goal in the second minute of the extra period, ending the tournament that had begun promisingly for the Irish on a sour note. Davis was again the goal-scorer, knocking the Irish to a third-place finish in the tournament behind Indiana and New Mexico.

The Irish led New Mexico in shots 13-11, but New Mexico won the corner kick battle 8-5.

“I was very disappointed for the team,” Clark said. “I thought we kind of took over in the second half just like we did on Friday. We talked about it at halftime how you have to be so careful in the back and you can’t have a concentration lapse. Full marks to New Mexico, Justin Davis had two very good goals. They were both from similar spots on the field and he whipped them in.”

The Irish open Big East play this weekend when they take on DePaul on Friday in Chicago, and then make the long road trip to Tampa, Fla., to face South Florida.