Aug. 19, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” A second half goal from midfielder/tri-captain Patrick Hodan provided the necessary offensive punch, and a solid defensive performance led the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team to a 1-0 exhibition victory over Butler on Wednesday night at the Butler Bowl.
The No. 4 Irish evened their 2015 scrimmage record at 1-1-0 in regulation matches with the win over the Bulldogs, the second straight exhibition triumph for Notre Dame at Butler dating back to a 2-1 victory on Aug. 18, 2011.
“We opened both halves very well this time, but we ran out of steam a little bit,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “Butler put a lot of pressure on at the end to try and equalize. Chris Hubbard was in goal and pulled off a couple of excellent saves. We’ve had periods of strong play, but I am not sure if we’ve put a complete game together just yet.”
With severe weather threatening to reach the Indianapolis area, an abbreviated 45-minute match and the later regulation game between Notre Dame and Butler were completed without interruption.
“The big bonus was with a lot of storms around, we were concerned that we weren’t going to get the games in,” Clark said. “Our younger boys played first (a 1-0 Butler win) in the early game and it gave us another look at the freshmen there. The combination of games gave a lot of guys 90 minutes of playing time.
“Patrick Berneski played in the 45-minute game and then played in the second half of the big game, and that’s two outings now where he’s played the mini game and also a half in the big game as well,” Clark said. “Thomas Ueland got another 45 minutes in the big game, and was the freshman that saw the most time.”
Butler finished with an 18-7 edge in shots for the match, but it was Hodan’s goal in the 59th minute that proved to be the difference.
“Patrick’s goal was a result of good pressing,” Clark said. “It was great pressing in the Butler half. We lost the ball but pressed hard, got it back, and Connor Klekota gave a little feed to Patrick. It was his characteristic shot, coming in off the right on his left foot, he opened his hips and put a curling shot into the right corner. It was an excellent goal.”
The two Notre Dame senior tri-captains making an impact in the result has become a common theme for both Hodan and Klekota during their respective Irish careers. Fine tuning that precision and execution during the preseason schedule was something that Clark said the team continues to strive for during the scrimmage slate.
“It’s always important that you learn how to win,” Clark said. “I don’t think we played as well as we wanted to play, but you have to give some credit to Butler there. Butler is going to be a good team this year and they didn’t make it easy for us at all. They certainly were the Butler Bulldogs, and they were snapping at our heels throughout the game. When you’re on the road you still have to find a way to get a result, and the team did that.”
The matchups at Butler capped a five-day road trip for Notre Dame that began at Ohio State last Sunday. Along with a total of four games that were played during that span, the Irish were also able to refine key areas during training while in Indianapolis leading up to Wednesday’s contests at the Butler Bowl.
Often times, the best way to recreate game conditions is by actually competing in a game setting.
“It’s hard to replicate game fitness without playing games, so that is one thing we have definitely taken away,” Clark said. “We are a little bit more game-fit, and with the third scrimmage coming in we’ll be getting pretty close.”
Notre Dame returns home to Alumni Stadium to host Saint Louis on Monday at 7 p.m. (ET) in the final Irish exhibition match of the 2015 preseason. Competitive games against quality opponents in Ohio State and Butler have helped prepare the Irish not only for the scrimmage finale against Saint Louis but also for the road ahead as the regular season rapidly approaches.
“Going on the road to play a good Big Ten team and a BIG EAST team, these are two of the best soccer leagues in the country,” Clark said. “Going to those kind of teams and playing at their place, that’s a good test for us. We are going to open with two huge games (against Maryland and Indiana) when we finally get there, so we’ve got to be ready. I don’t think we’d be as prepared if we hadn’t already played in tough environments. We still have one game at home on Monday, and we are hoping to put a few more things together.”
Season and single game tickets for Notre Dame men’s soccer are on sale now. Visit und.com/tickets or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356.
August 19, 2015 (exhibition)
Butler Bowl – Indianapolis, Ind.
#4 Notre Dame 0 1 – 1
Butler 0 0 – 0
— Tony Jones, Athletics Communications Assistant