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Men’s Soccer: Irish look for complete game against Marquette

Jared Jedick | Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Irish travel to Milwaukee today to face Marquette in a key Big East match-up that pits Notre Dame (5-4-1, 3-2 Big East) against a team desperate for some more wins in the conference.

Although the Golden Eagles (2-5-2; 1-2-2 Big East) seem to be down early in the season, the Irish expect a tough game against a very physical team.

“We expect a hard game from Marquette,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “I actually watched them against West Virginia and they are a big and strong team and are very competitive. We expect them to fight very hard. They need to win and get some points in the Big East.”

This kind of desperation can breed some physical play from Marquette, which Clark characterized as a big and strong team that enjoys playing a physical type of game.

“They have a lot of red cards,” Clark said. “I saw one lad getting a red card against West Virginia, but that was a result of getting two yellow cards, so it was not a terribly violent play.”

The key for Notre Dame to beat the Golden Eagles on their home turf will be to not fall into the trap of matching physicality with physicality. The Irish want to keep within their own game and play sound, technical soccer.

“We are a strong and athletic team too,” Clark said. “We just have to not get involved in their game and play our own game. We have a lot of good technical players and we play good technical soccer. If you watch us play we pass the ball a lot and not just for the sake of passing.”

The Irish hold the all-time advantage against Marquette, having gone 10-5-1 in the series with a 31-26 advantage in goals. Last year the Irish defeated Marquette 4-1 at Notre Dame, and the year before the Irish defeated Marquette 1-0 in Milwaukee. The Irish are 4-4 all-time at Marquette.

Marquette is coming off a 1-0 loss to West Virginia last weekend and is hungry for a win in a season that has seen very few. The task for the Irish is even more difficult because they have to travel by bus to Wisconsin during the middle of a week of classes. The situation is not ideal for pulling out a road win.

“We would rather not do it, but it is just one of those things that you have to do,” Clark said.

The Irish sit in fourth place in the Blue division of the Big East Conference and are hoping for a win to advance up in the standings, but Clark wants the team to keep things in perspective and take one game at a time.

“It is very important to us just to get more wins,” Clark said. “We just need to concentrate on playing well.”

Recent troubles for the Irish have centered on their ability to put two good halves together into a complete game.

“We played well in the second half against Seton Hall, but not so well in the first half,” Clark said. “I do not think we have strung two good halves together in a row.”

Clark would like to see the team be able to stay in their game for 90 minutes and show some consistency and determination.

An example of consistency for the Irish has been Justin Morrow, who earned Big East weekly honors for his performance in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Seton Hall. Morrow was partly responsible for a give-away that resulted in Seton Hall’s only goal in the first half, but he was able to recover and score the game-winner in the second half.

“Morrow’s game on Friday was bittersweet,” Clark said. “He was partially responsible for a goal in the first half, but he showed the character to not let that bother him and got another goal in the second half.”

The Irish hope to see this resiliency tonight at 7 p.m.