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Men’s Soccer: ND shuts out Marquette 2-0

Laura Myers | Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Irish might benefit from playing a 45-minute scrimmage before the start of each game. After all, it’s the second 45 minutes when they consistently shine.

Notre Dame (6-4-1, 4-2-0 Big East) scored both its goals in the second half for a 2-0 victory over struggling Marquette (2-6-2, 1-3-2) Wednesday in Wisconsin.

“It was a very good second half,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “I thought the first half we played very well. It’s hard at the opposing stadium.”

The game was a 0-0 tie at the half, with senior goalie Andrew Quinn making a save on the only shot on goal by either team, made by Marquette’s Robb Ryan.

When the squads came out of the locker room after halftime, the Irish were a different team.

Senior forward Tamba Samba recorded his first goal of the year in the 48th minute to give Notre Dame a 1-0 advantage.

“I think that really settled it,” Clark said. “Then we scored a beautiful goal.”

That came six minutes later, when senior forward Bright Dike scored his seventh of the year.

“It was a very nice interception by [senior midfielder] Michael Thomas initially, then [sophomore midfielder] Brenden King swung a very delicate curving cross ball and Dike glanced it over the goalkeeper,” Clark said. “It was a good goal, very pretty.”

The Irish made a total of 11 shots in the second half, compared to just four in the first. Golden Eagle goalie Matt Pyzdrowski outdid himself with five saves in that second period, without which the game may have become a blowout.

“After the goals it was really just a matter of running out the game,” Clark said. “We did have some more chances to really put it away, but the two goals were good enough.”

The game was Notre Dame’s fourth shutout of the season. In fact, the Irish have yet to allow more than two scores in a game.

“I thought the defense was solid,” Clark said. “Who I thought did really well was [senior midfielder] Justin Morrow. He was dangerous and caused a lot of problems to Marquette.”

Wednesday’s defensive effort was aided by the return of sophomore defender Aaron Maund, who had been away at the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt. Despite having just landed in the States on Monday morning, Maund played all 90 minutes for the Irish. Freshman midfielder Dillon Powers, also returning from the U-20 World Cup, played 20 minutes.

“Considering they just got back from Egypt on Monday it was good to get them some playing time,” Clark said. “They did well.”

This type of win is becoming all too familiar for the Irish.

In 11 games this season, the Irish have scored a total of 21 goals. Just four of those have come in the first period, while 17 have come in the second.

The Irish have 93 total shots in the second half, compared with 62 in the first. They have allowed opponents just 48 shots in the second half.

It works – so far – and Clark said he isn’t too worried about fixing it.

“It’s a tough travel week for us,” he said. “We won’t really have time for practice between now and Providence. It’s more trying to get the boys to recover.”

Notre Dame will travel to Rhode Island Saturday to take on the Friars. That game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.