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ND Men’s Soccer: Getting Big

Eric Prister | Monday, September 27, 2010

In their first conference match and a game that could set the tone for their entire season, the Irish defeated No. 12 St. John’s 1-0 Saturday.

“It was a really good game,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “We felt like we were where we wanted to be with our team.”

Notre Dame (3-2-2, 1-0-0 Big East) outshot the Red Storm (5-2-0, 0-1-0 Big East) 18-7, and had nine shots on goal to St. John’s none. Senior forward Steven Perry was able to connect on one of those nine, scoring in the 70th minute to give his team the go-ahead goal.

“You’ve got to hope that it will translate to more goals soon,” Clark said. “Their keeper [redshirt freshman Rafael Diaz] made three excellent saves, and those could have been goals, but that’s the thing. At a certain point, there’s no use in having shots — you have to get them into the net. It’s the only statistic that really counts. You can get all the other statistics, but at the end of the day, they don’t mean anything if you’re not getting goals.”

The score was set up by a shot by junior Dillon Powers, which was punched out of bounds by a diving Diaz. Junior Brendan King took the corner kick and placed it into the box, which opened the door for Perry to put it away.

Clark said he was happy with his team’s intensity, something he said had been lacking recently.

“It’s no question [that the team came out with intensity],” Clark said. “I think they knew that. I don’t think they had to be reminded. I think that they felt that they let themselves down last weekend, and it’s just hard. I thought this game right from the start our players looked fresh and there was a lot of energy.”

Irish junior goalkeeper Will Walsh earned his fourth shutout of the year, even though he was not forced to make a save. St. John’s was unable to put a shot on goal, something Clark said can be attributed to the Notre Dame defense.

“I think the defense did well,” Clark said. “I think every goalkeeper will say that ‘I don’t need the saves,’ I think that we did a good job of not letting St. John’s get shots on time.”

The Raiders had one last chance as the Irish were called for a handball in the penalty box in the 85th minute. Fortunately for Notre Dame, St. John’s senior midfielder Tadeu Terra pushed his penalty kick wide left of the goal, sealing the Irish victory.

The Irish have a quick turnaround, as they will travel to Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire in Bridgeview, Ill. to take on Northwestern Wendesday at 8 p.m.

“There’s no question that we have the potential to be a good team,” Clark said. “If we can play like that and come out with that intensity and with the ability that this team has, I would like to think that we can win a lot of games.”