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Men’s Soccer: Irish dominate weekend

Joseph Monardo | Monday, September 3, 2012

With two decisive victories this weekend, No. 15 Notre Dame swept the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington, Ind., and continued its hot streak at the start of the 2012 season.

A 3-2 victory over San Diego State and a 1-0 defeat of Clemson, push the Irish (3-0) to their best start since 2004.

The Irish began the weekend Friday afternoon against the Aztecs by putting three shots on goal in the first eight minutes of play. The aggressive attack barely slowed from there, as Irish junior forward Harrison Shipp scored the game’s first goal in the 26th minute.

In the 38th minute, San Diego State converted its first shot of the game to even the score at 1-1 before halftime. The Irish responded authoritatively in the second half, however, as Shipp assisted both of senior forward Ryan Finley’s goals in the 61st and 82nd minute. The Aztecs added a final goal in the 85th minute, but the Irish hung on to take the 3-2 decision with senior Will Walsh earning the win in net.

“We started the game very well, and I thought we … really looked good for most of the first half,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said.

“In the second half, we had a 25-minute spell where we were absolutely brilliant. … Harry, he’s a little magician,” Clark said. “He was just shaking and baking. He scored a goal, had [two] assists. Ryan Finley [made] those superb runs in behind defenses. These guys just carved it up.”

Notre Dame came out strong again Sunday against Clemson, jumping out to a 1-0 lead off junior forward Alex Priede’s first career goal. Priede slammed home a rebound from senior midfielder Kyle Richard’s attempt in the 15th minute.

Clemson drew even in the 37th minute off an Irish own goal, but Irish senior midfielder and captain Dillon Powers restored Notre Dame’s lead in the 43rd minute. Finley pushed the ball down the field and into the 18-yard box before dumping off the ball to Powers, who found the back of the net from 15 yards out. The Irish outshot Clemson 12-2 in the opening frame and carried their one-goal advantage into the break.

Notre Dame also had a majority of scoring chances in an active, albeit scoreless, second half as they secured the 2-1 win. Irish junior goalkeeper Patrick Wall earned the victory and recorded two saves in his first career start.

“Both games we dominated shot-wise,” Clark said. “I felt we could have put San Diego State away early, and I think Clemson was the same.”

“The goals you give away, you aren’t happy about any of them. We gave up three goals over the weekend and we are not happy with that.”

Clark said his offense also missed too many scoring chances over the weekend.

“I think the offense we generated was very good. I don’t think we were able to capitalize on that offense,” he said. “I felt we should have had more goals over the weekend.”

For the third straight game the Irish outshot their opponent, the highlight being a dominant 19-5 margin in attempts against Clemson. In total, Notre Dame has unleashed 52 shots this season while limiting its opponents to just 18. Despite the massive advantage in shots, Notre Dame has only scored six goals while allowing three and has finished every game with only a one-goal advantage.

“We shouldn’t be hanging on for the end for the last 10 minutes because no matter how much you territorially dominate in this game, when it comes down to the last two minutes and the game’s close, they become very direct,” Clark said.

Looking to improve to 4-0, the Irish will aim to capitalize on their opportunities when they host the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament in Alumni Stadium. Notre Dame will kick off the tournament against Oregon State on Friday, and conclude it against Akron on Sunday.

Contact Joseph Monardo at [email protected]