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Men’s Soccer: Defending their turf

Sam Gans | Sunday, October 7, 2012

The No. 10 Irish raced out of the gates with a fast start and utilized a strong second half en route to a 3-0 win over No. 3 Georgetown in Alumni Stadium on Saturday.

Senior forward Ryan Finley scored two goals 23 seconds apart in the 66th minute to give Notre Dame (10-2-0, 2-2-0 Big East) breathing room against the Hoyas (10-2-1, 2-2-0).

The Irish struck first in the eighth minute when junior forward Alex Priede tapped in a goal from inside the 6-yard box. Priede put the Irish ahead after Irish senior captain and midfielder Dillon Powers’ corner kick could not be cleared.

“It’s a big ole Alex Priede goal – he gets goals like that,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “It was a great start. That gets you in front and then they’ve got to come, and when they have to come at you, then it opens their back, and I thought we were really able to open their back.”

Finley benefited from this in the second half when he received a through ball behind the defense from Irish junior forward Harry Shipp. Finley dribbled around charging Georgetown junior goalkeeper Keon Parsa and calmly placed the ball in the net.

Just 23 seconds later, Finley again found the goal. Irish freshman midfielder Patrick Hodan corralled a long pass near the corner and dribbled toward the side of the 18-yard box. He then passed to Finley, who fired a shot from the middle of the box off the bottom of the crossbar to put the Irish up three.

“We talked about at halftime, once we got the second goal, we thought the floodgates would kind of open up, so it was nice to get that third one and ice the cake,” Finley said.

Both the Irish and Hoyas had many scoring chances throughout the match. The two teams combined for 40 shots and each hit multiple posts. Parsa and Irish junior goalkeeper Patrick Wall were both sharp and made numerous diving saves.

Clark said the play of both sides made for a great collegiate soccer match.

“It was a great win, but what a great college soccer game,” Clark said. “What a great advertisement for college soccer. It was two very, very good teams and it was just exciting.”

The win over Georgetown puts the Irish back into the Big East championship hunt. The Irish started 0-2 in conference play with a pair of losses at Louisville and Connecticut, before beating Pittsburgh 7-1 on Wednesday and defeating the Hoyas on Saturday.

Clark said Saturday’s result for the Irish was critical as they continue toward the NCAA tournament.

“It is important. It’s very important, just to get back, to get going,” Clark said. “But these are good teams. You’re playing a team that’s No. 3 in the country and you’re beating them 3-0. I think that’s important. Because make no mistake about it, Georgetown is a very, very good team. So that was a big result for us.

“The two teams we lost to were two very good teams, [we] played them both on the road. Louisville and Connecticut, these are tough assignments and we played well in both of these games. On another night we could have won both these games, as well. But we’re still growing, and hopefully we’re still getting better.”

The Irish are next in action Tuesday when they play their final non-conference regular season game of the year at Northwestern at 8 p.m.


Contact Sam Gans at [email protected]