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Men’s Soccer: Irish fall to Louisville in Big East semifinals

Molly Sammon | Monday, November 15, 2010

The Irish campaign for a Big East Championship ended Friday with a 1-0 loss against the No. 1 Louisville Cardinals, in the tournament’s semifinal event, sending the Irish back to South Bend to prepare for the NCAA tournament.

“Louisville had a fantastic season this year,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “I think we were the better side. We possibly outplayed them in a many parts of the game. Having said that, we must also congratulate them.”

The Irish, sporting a second seed placement in the blue division, fell to the Cardinals boasting not only a top seed in the red division, but also the top spot on the national ranks.

They’re a well organized team, and they work very hard as a team. They’re well coached,” Clark said. “Their biggest asset is that they play well together as a team. “They attack as a team, they defend as a team.”

In the first half of the game, the teams proved evenly matched as they headed off the field, each team scoreless. Louisville outshot Notre Dame 2-1 in the first half of the contest, but the Irish had two shots on goal to the Cardinal’s one.

“I thought it was a game with two very good teams and possibly demonstrated the Big East as one of the strongest soccer conferences in the country,” Clark said.

The Cardinals opened scoring early into the second half and got the lead they managed to keep all game.

In the 72nd minute, Irish freshman forward Harrison Shipp netted a goal that was deeded offsides by the referees following the play. Replay later revealed that the goal was robbed from the Irish at the error of the referee.

“They got the goal that counted, obviously. That was disappointing,” Clark said. “You must accept the referee’s decision. We’ve moved on. We can’t dwell on the past. These things happen in sports and you just move on.”

Overall, the Cardinals had 15 shots against the Irish with five on goal, while Notre Dame matched the five shots on goal and but fell short on total shots with 11. Senior forward Steven Perry and junior midfielder Brendan King doubled-up with shots on goal. Senior midfielder Jeb Brovsky had a couple of shots, but was taken out for a portion of the game due to a leg injury, but reentered the game with 20 minutes left.

“I think he’ll be ready to practice on Tuesday,” Clark said.

Clark stressed that he wants the team to make one adjustment to their team’s performance, a lesson they got with the loss to Louisville.

“I think we played a strong 80 minutes, but a soccer game lasts 90 minutes,” Clark said. “I think we didn’t chase the game perhaps as well as we could have. With 10 minutes left to go, I think we could have done that a little better. We lost a little bit of our discipline at that time, it was up to our discipline and passion to tie the game up. I think that’s something we can work on before the NCAAs.”

With the loss behind them, the Irish will prepare for their next test, the first round of the NCAA tournament.

“This weekend was very good for preparing us for the NCAA tournament. We learned a lot about ourselves in the game,” Bobby Clark said. “We know we’re a very good team. Now it’s a matter of still growing. That’s the key to our season, and I hope we’ll still have four weeks left to continue the team’s development.”

The time and place of Notre Dame’s first round game of the tournament is pending on tomorrow’s NCAA men’s soccer selection. ESPNU will reveal the 48 teams and the tournament bracket by 5 p.m. Monday.