Sept. 24, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 14 Notre Dame men’s soccer team opened BIG EAST play in fine fashion on Saturday evening by topping No. 3 Louisville 1-0 at Alumni Stadium. Fighting Irish junior forward Danny O’Leary scored the game’s lone goal in the fourth minute.
Notre Dame (5-1-2, 1-0-0) upped its win streak to four games and its unbeaten streak to five with the victory over the Cardinals. This is Notre Dame’s first four-game win streak since the 2008 season.
O’Leary’s goal was set up by a nice run down the right side of the field by senior midfielder Adam Mena. Mena crossed the ball to O’Leary, who had his first shot deflected by Louisville goalkeeper Andre Boudreaux, but he deposited the rebound for his second goal of the season.
Mena has had a hand in Notre Dame’s last five goals. He has a team-high nine points on three goals and three assists. The assist total leads the Irish and the goal figure is tied for the team lead.
“It was a great run by Adam Mena,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “Adam just bombed up the line. He must have went about 50 yards. He put a cross over and Danny (O’Leary) was on the spot. It was a great goal for Danny.”
The Irish nearly grabbed a two-goal lead in the 32nd minute as Harrison Shipp sent a nice cross into the box for Ryan Finley and his shot was pushed out of bounds by Boudreaux. The Fighting Irish outshot the Cardinals 7-4 in the first half.
Louisville (6-2-0, 0-1-0) upped its offensive pressure in the second half and outshot the Irish 16-2, yet many of the attempts were from distance. The Cardinals held a slim 7-6 edge in shots on goal for the match. Louisville had seven corner kicks in the game, while Notre Dame had four.
Arguably the Cardinals best scoring chance of the match occurred in the 85th minute when Nick DeLeon put a deep shot on frame and Notre Dame senior goalkeeper Will Walsh dove to tip the ball out of bounds. Walsh had seven saves on the night to up his and the team’s scoreless streak to 270:21. Boudreaux made five saves.
Tonight was Notre Dame’s first win over a top-three opponent since taking down No. 1 UCLA, 2-1 in overtime, to open the 2007 campaign. The victory also snapped Louisville’s 17-game unbeaten streak in BIG EAST play.
“This is a big win, there’s no question about that,” added Clark. “We were fantastic in the first half, but I was a little disappointed with our play in the second half because we didn’t play with the same composure. They (Louisville) hustled us out of our game. Full marks to Louisville, they are a hard-pressing team and they did that well. But I’m very happy with tonight’s result.”
The Fighting Irish return to action next Saturday at No. 12 St. John’s. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. (ET) in Queens, N.Y.
Alumni Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.
September 24, 2011
#3 Louisville (6-2-0, 0-1-0) 0 0 – 0
#14 Notre Dame (5-1-2, 1-0-0) 1 0 – 1
Shots: UL 4-16 – 20, ND 7-2 – 9
Corner Kicks: UL 2-5 – 7, ND 3-1 – 4
Goalkeepers: UL: Andre Boudreaux – 5 SV, 1 GA, 90:00, L
ND: Will Walsh – 7 SV, 0 GA, 90:00, W
Fouls: UL 8, ND 7
Offsides: UL 1, ND 5