Aug. 14, 2016
by Tony Jones
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” A handful of offensive chances set the pace for the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team early, but in the 2016 scrimmage opener it was defense that was the story. The No. 9 Irish and SIUE battled to a spirited 0-0 draw on Sunday night to usher in the exhibition slate at Korte Stadium.
Notre Dame finished the game with a 3-1 edge in shots on goal against SIUE, including two tries on frame in the second half. The Irish attempted two corner kicks to one for the Cougars, while each team had eight total fouls.
“In both halves we did some good things, but we also found some bits and pieces that we could improve on,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “I think it’s great when you’re away from home because you’ve got time, we can sit down tomorrow and watch both halves to see what we can take into Tuesday’s practice and see what we can do a little better against Bradley on Wednesday. I learned a lot and I think the team can learn a lot when we sit and go over the video to see what we can improve on.”
Sean Dedrick claimed the first scoring chance of the night for Notre Dame, finding room behind the SIUE defense in the fifth minute. Cougar goalkeeper Kyle Dal Santo, one of the NCAA leaders with a 0.43 goals against average in 2015, was up to the task and made the save.
Dedrick then threaded a great cross along to Jeffrey Farina inside the SIUE 18-yard box in the 14th minute. A diving Farina header drifted just wide of the far post to thwart the Irish chance.
“I thought Dedrick showed well and did some nice things,” Clark said. “He got forward and made plays for us. It’s still a good battle between him and Felicien Dumas for the left back spot, and Felicien played the second half at left back.
“Young Senan Farrelly (center back) did well coming in as a freshman, he partnered well with senior Brandon Aubrey,” Clark added. “Tommy McCabe (midfield) played like a veteran in there, all of the freshmen who played did well. Tommy and Senan did well, and I thought Jack Casey (midfield) was very good also.
Farina would gain possession once more deep in Cougar territory in the 21st minute, but his try from the top of the box sailed over the crossbar.
SIUE found its only official shot on goal on the counterattack in the 24th minute. Ivan Gutierrez was stopped by Notre Dame goalkeeper Chris Hubbard within range for the only Cougar attempt of the night on frame.
The Cougars found perhaps their best scoring chance of the night when Greg Solawa found an opening just outside the box in the 32nd minute. Solawa’s try caromed off the post and out of play to keep the match scoreless heading into halftime.
“Our defensive shape was good, we really didn’t get opened up to any extent,” Clark said. “Possibly the most dangerous times were their long throw-ins and set pieces, that was the only time I felt we may have been vulnerable. One of the good things about this game and our next game against Bradley is both teams are very good on set pieces, so it sharpens up your defending there.”
Sporting an entirely new starting XI in the second half, Notre Dame looked to pour the pressure on for its first goal against Dal Santo. Sophomore striker Ian Aschieris connected on shots on goal in the 55th and 70th minutes, but Dal Santo contributed a pair of saves to the SIUE cause.
“I thought both lineups did some things quite well,” Clark said. “We were supposed to play an earlier 45-minute game but SIUE had some guys unable to play, so we ended up splitting two squads exactly. I thought both had their moments, and it was actually a really good game. SIUE is a good team, and even though we never really put our full team together playing everyone 45 minutes was good because it gave us enough time for guys to get their legs under them.”
A tic-tac-toe header on to Lachlan McLean in the 85th minute for SIUE provided the Cougars with their best look of the second half. McLean’s header from the center of the box traveled out of bounds wide of Notre Dame goalkeeper Ryan Krutz and the right goal post.
In transition, Notre Dame built a final threatening run at the SIUE goal looking for the victory in the 86th minute. Aschieris sent fellow striker Jon Gallagher through up the channel with a great pass just beyond the 18, but Dal Santo came sliding from his keeper post to corral the pass and prevent Gallagher from depositing the chance into the net.
“It was also good to see strong play from our sophomores, since many of them have freshman eligibility (after sitting out last season),” Clark said. “Sean MacLeod, Felicien Dumas, Sean Dedrick, Ian Aschieris, they’re all actually freshmen eligibility-wise. There are a few freshmen we didn’t get on because of the cancellation of the early game, so I was disappointed that they didn’t get on. We’ll get a good look at them with our back-to-back games at Bradley, as it’s important for them to get some playing time in the preseason. I think we’re making progress, and that’s all we can ask for at this time.”
Notre Dame continues its brief two-game exhibition road trip by traveling to Peoria to face Bradley on Aug. 17. A 60-minute contest is set to kick off at 6:30 p.m. (ET), followed by a full-squad regulation match at 8 p.m. on ESPN3.
“You can only play against yourselves so often, you learn when you play against other teams,” Clark said. “Full marks to SIUE, they came and made it a really good game. It was a fun experience.”
Season and single game tickets for the 2016 Notre Dame men’s soccer season are on sale now. Visit und.com/tickets or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356 for more information or to purchase tickets.
Aug. 14, 2016
No. 9 Notre Dame 0, SIUE 0 (Exhibition)
Korte Stadium (Edwardsville, Ill.)
No. 9 Notre Dame 0 0 — 0
SIUE 0 0 — 0
Shots: SIUE 5 (2-3), ND 4 (2-2)
Shots on Goal: SIUE 1 (1-0), ND 3 (1-2)
Saves: SIUE 3 (Kyle Dal Santo 3 in 90:00), ND 1 (Chris Hubbard 1 in 45:00, Ryan Krutz 0 in 45:00)
Corner Kicks: SIUE 1 (1-0), ND 2 (2-0)
Fouls: SIUE 8, ND 8
Offsides: SIUE 2, ND 4
Yellow Cards: Lachlan McLean (SIUE) 80:26
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.