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Men’s Soccer: League championship awaits in Morgantown

Michael Blasco | Friday, November 13, 2009

No. 25 Notre Dame travels to Morgantown, W. Va., today to take on No. 7 Louisville in the Big East Tournament semifinals at 5:30 p.m. in Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The winner will play in the Big East Championship against the victor of today’s St. John’s/Providence semifinal match.

“It’s a great game for us to try and prepare for the NCAA [tournament],” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “Hopefully, we can get a win and get to the final. This is our third straight trip to the Final Four of the Big East tournament, but we’ve yet to win it in that time. Louisville (13-2-3, 8-2-1) is a difficult hurdle for us to try and win the championship.”

The No. 2-seed Irish (10-7-2, 8-3-0 Big East) are hoping to replicate the results of their September victory over the No.1-seed Cardinals. Although Louisville has only surrendered 12 goals all season, four of those goals came in the second half of Notre Dame’s 4-0 blowout victory over the Cardinals.

Despite the decisive scoring advantage, Clark is hesitant to call that victory a commanding performance.

“To be fair, the four goals did flatter us a bit,” Clark said. “They had to press forward after the second goal and that opened up spaces in the back for us. It certainly wasn’t a 4-0 game, but it was a very good result for us.”

Since that loss to the Irish, Louisville has rattled off an 8-1-2 record en route to winning the Big East Red Division regular season title. Like Notre Dame, the Cardinals’ quarterfinal match was decided by penalty kicks, beating DePaul 3-2 in PKs after drawing 1-1 in regular time.

Louisville is led offensively by sophomore forward Colin Rolfe, who has tallied 10 goals and two assists on the season.

The matchup to watch, however, will be between the high-powered Irish offense, led by senior forward Bright Dike, and the sophomore Cardinals goalkeeper Andre Boudreaux.

Boudreaux carries a 0.64 goals against average and 12 shutouts, both school records, while Dike, who was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year this week, leads the conference with 23 points on 10 goals and three assists. 

“Louisville is always a hard game,” Clark said. “The score last time … could have very well been a one-goal game. There is no way we can underestimate them.”