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ND Soccer: Women win, men lose to international opponents

Andrew Gastelum and Joseph Monardo | Monday, April 30, 2012

The Irish men welcomed the Mexico under-20 national team for their final outing of the spring exhibition season. But along with the team, a large contingent of Mexico fans accepted the invitation to Alumni Stadium, watching the Irish fall 1-0.

For Notre Dame, an early own goal marred the score line. The game’s lone score came in the 23rd minute off Mexico midfielder Alfonso Gonzalez’s cross that was redirected into the Irish net by a Notre Dame defender as it crossed the face of the frame.

Despite the own goal and the loss, the Irish can take plenty of positives from the outing, Irish coach Bobby Clark said.

“I think you’ve got to take the positive side to this game. I think we played very well … even in the first half,” he said. “I think it took us a little while to get our confidence. The Mexican team is very technical, very good with the ball and it took us a little time, but once we got our confidence and started stepping and winning the ball, we really found our feet. In the second half, I thought we were excellent.”

After recording one shot in the opening half, the Irish unleashed 12 shots in the second and forced Mexico to make seven saves. In the 65th minute, Irish sophomore midfielder Harrison Shipp had Notre Dame’s first shot on goal.

Two minutes later, Irish senior midfielder Adam Mena had his blast from the top of the 18-yard box headed away by a diving Mexico defender. The Irish had two more quick scoring opportunities in the 71st minute, but Mexico countered with a scoring chance of its own that was turned away by Irish sophomore goalkeeper Patrick Wall.

The contest brought excitement on the field and in the stands, as Mexico fans ensured a raucous atmosphere, Clark said.

“It was a lot of fun, I think, for the players to play in a higher-level game like that,” he said. “It was fun to have a full house, a crowd that was right into the game, and I think it was just a great atmosphere.”

Notre Dame 2, Haiti 1

With a 2-1 win over the Haitian national team, an undermanned Irish squad grabbed its first international win since 2008.

Freshman forward Lauren Bohaboy led the Irish with two goals, including the game-winner in the 84th minute. Tied at one, the California product jetted past her defender and ripped a shot from an awkward angle on the left flank. The ball squeezed under Haiti goalkeeper Jordan Clark and barely crossed the line, proving to be the winning goal for the Irish.

“[Bohaboy] has been good all spring,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “She has been one of our two best players this spring and has made the biggest strides for us. We are looking for great things from her in the fall. She was fantastic, I thought.”

Bohaboy’s first goal came after a Haiti defender took down Irish sophomore midfielder Elizabeth Tucker in the box, drawing a penalty kick. Bohaboy put the penalty kick into the back of the net, giving the Irish a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute.

But the Irish lead didn’t last for long. In the 40th minute, Haiti forward Manoucheka Pierre-Louis settled a long pass before threading a through pass to midfielder Lovely Placide. Placide, who was streaking down the left flank, got behind the Irish defense and easily put it past Irish junior goalkeeper Maddie Fox to knot the score at one.

The Irish outshot the Haitians, 25-6, but couldn’t manage to break the tie until Bohaboy’s strike in the 84th minute. Bohaboy had a chance for a hat trick in the 91st, but her free kick clanged off the crossbar after a deflection by Clark.
Despite the result, Waldrum said his squad struggled to adapt to Haiti’s slower-paced international style.

“It is a very international style. They were very organized defensively and they are very good on the counter,” he said. “That is not the American way. Our teams are always on the ‘go-go-go,’ so we had to figure out how to break that down. I was pleased with our play, but I was also very impressed with what [Haiti national coach Shek Borkowski] has done in a short time with the Haiti team.”

Contact Andrew Gastelum at [email protected] and Joseph Monardo at [email protected]