Oct. 13, 2004
The seventh-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team posted its sixth-straight shutout victory in impressive fashion with a 3-0 win over #22 Michigan (7-3-2) to improve to 10-2-1 on the season. Senior Luke Boughen led the Irish attack with a goal and an assist, while sophomores Justin McGeeney and Nate Norman added a goal each.
The 10-2-1 start to the season continues to be the team’s best since the 1988 campaign, as Notre Dame began the ’88 season 10-1-2 in its first 13 games. Oct. 13, 2004, also marks the earliest the Irish have reached 10 wins since that 1988 season (in ’93, the Irish reached 10 wins on Oct. 17).
After a few loose minutes at the beginning of the game, Notre Dame settled down and controlled the action for the rest of the contest. At 14:11, sophomore Ian Etherington found McGeeney behind the Michigan defense with a great touch.
McGeeney ended up one-on-one with UM’s Joe Zawacki and moved to the left, evading the diving goalkeeper and driving the ball into the right corner of the net. The goal was McGeeney’s fifth of the season, matching Tony Megna for the team lead in that category.
It did not take long for Notre Dame to nab the second goal of the game. Senior Jack Stewart, who was spectacular in the back line for the Irish, picked up a loose ball and charged forward. Michigan was force to drag him down on the right sideline, approximately 25 yards from the goal.
Senior Kevin Goldthwaite, also highly effective in the Irish defense during the evening, moved forward and sent a great free kick into the heart of the Michigan defense. Freshman Joe Lapira (who played a career high for minutes in the contest when Megna was sidelined early with an injury) settled the ball with a nice touch back to Boughen.
Boughen moved forward with two dribbles and nailed a shot past Zawacki to put Notre Dame firmly in control of the match.
Michigan would threaten once in the second half, but senior GK Chris Sawyer left his line with perfect timing for a big save on Michigan’s Trai Banks.
With the shutout, Sawyer picks up his seventh solo shutout of the season and increases his scoreless minute streak to 555 minutes.
The Irish added an insurance goal at 85:53 when Nate Norman, who played forward during the final 10 minutes of the contest, picked up a nice feed by Boughen and beat UM’s Pete Dzubay right at the penalty kick spot.
The victory over the Wolverines is the fourth in five tries for the Irish. The two teams battled to a 1-1 tie in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championship last season, with Michigan advancing on penalty kicks. While Megna’s status was unknown at the end of the contest, the Irish did have junior Dale Rellas return to the lineup for the first time after missing the first 13 games with a foot injury.
The win also gives the Irish a great start to a tough part of the schedule, as the team will face St. John’s, Seton Hall and Rutgers on the road over Fall Break.