Rising senior defender Craig Krzyskowski.

Fighting Irish Fall In Final Scandinavian Match

May 31, 2010

The Notre Dame men’s soccer team is wrapping up a two-week trip to Sweden and Denmark. Head coach Bobby Clark and certain members of the squad have been checking in with match reports and blogs from their adventures.

Read Bobby Clark’s final match report …

Match #6

Akademisk BK 3 – Notre Dame 0
May 29

Perhaps today’s game was a bridge too far and perhaps a harsh way to close off a wonderful trip. There is no question that six games in nine days was a bit too much to handle, especially in light of the opposition we had to face but the team never flinched and played some excellent soccer. Today we opted to start the players who did not play in the GAIS game. This was predominantly the younger players and although they fought stoutly they just could not get it going against a Division 1 Danish team. All the opposition were full time professionals and were for the most part men. It was a great lesson for our younger players as they literally worked their tails off trying to keep the game afloat. Unfortunately the baling cans could not quite cope and they lost two goals. At the half in order to get back some momentum we decided to put in five of the players who had played the previous day up in Gothenburg. This definitely stemmed the onslaught but with five minutes left, as we were pushing trying to get back into the game, the Danish team got in behind and killed the match with a third goal.

As I said, perhaps a bridge too far but the team’s 3-3-0 record against professional players in all but one game was a very creditable performance and I think that the players and the team will have gained tremendous experience from this trip. For the record, here is a final list of the games

Lost 2-1 against AB Koge (Danish Super League)
Won 1-0 against FC Copenhagen U21s (Danish Surer League Youth side)
Won 3-1 against Naestved BK ( Danish 1st Division side)
Won 1-0 against Halmstads U19s (Swedish 1st Division – top league)
Lost 2-0 against GAIS (Swedish 1st Division – top league)
Lost 3-0 against Akademisk BK (Danish 1st Division)

A very strong schedule with very creditable results and now all that is left is a final day of sightseeing in Copenhagen. The players are very excited to go back into the Danish capital and use up the remainder if their Kroners, take some final snap shots, and tie up some great memories for a very fun trip.

Read Craig Krzyskowski’s (Rising Sr./D) blog …

Thursday, May 27

Craig Krzyskowski here, hijacking the blog for a little bit. After conquering Sweden and Denmark the last two days with victories over Naestved and Halmstad, we were in need of a little regeneration for the last leg of the trip with games on Friday and Saturday. After a wonderful breakfast yet again headlined by Chef Moriarty, we headed out to the field for a light practice. Strength and conditioning guru Chris Sandeen led us through his final workout of the trip before heading to Zurich to start a well-deserved vacation. After all, as Boss (head coach Bobby Clark) put it, “There is possibly no one else working harder on this trip than Chris Sandeen.” Aside from (team manager) Aryelle Emison doing just about everything for us including making sure we have clean uniforms and plenty of food, we all agreed that Chris has done quite a bit for us. We appreciate your work Chris and have no doubts you are a vital piece of the puzzle allowing us to start this trip with three wins and one loss. After the workout, we headed out to the practice field to get some touches to maintain our sharpness before we headed into this difficult final weekend. Practice was highlighted by what the coaching staff likes to call the “Barcelona” possession game. It’s called this because apparently Barcelona (the team with that kid named Messi) does this at their practices. It’s a great passing drill that really forces players to make quick decisions with limited time and space, but we’re still a little bit skeptical about naming a drill after a team that is no better than the third best team in Europe behind Champions League winner Inter Milan and runner-up Bayern Munich. Regardless of the name of the drills (I call it the Notre Dame drill), practice went off without a hitch.

Regular followers of the blog know by now that if we have a day or two in between matches there is a very good chance we will be visiting the white sandy beaches bordering the Baltic Sea. Regular followers of the blog also know that if we are going to the beach it is not necessarily to work on our tans. Boss took us for yet another ice bath in the chilly water of the Baltic. All jokes aside, while these trips to the beach may not seem enjoyable to the readers, the team feels they are very necessary to keep our legs feeling fresh after they endure the tremendous stress put on them during these matches.

After practicing and taking ice baths, our readers may think that was a one heck of a full day. They would be right if they were talking about some run of the mill Mickey Mouse soccer club. There was plenty left to do for this team considering it was only lunch time after our morning activities. The plan for the rest of the day was to pack up and travel to Gotenburg where we will be playing tomorrow. Gotenburg is roughly a four-hour drive from our base camp in Trelleborg so the staff decided for several reasons (one being to keep the drivers fresh) that it would be best to travel the night before the game. It was a welcomed break up in the routine for the players who didn’t mind spending a night away from Pensionat Maglarp. To make this little trip even more enjoyable we made a stop in Angelholm, a town nearly halfway to Gotenburg from Trelleborg, to watch Michael Thomas (I feel he may no longer need any introduction) play in a reserve game with his club Halmstads BK. The guys really enjoyed watching a former teammate and close friend play on the next level. After the game everybody was even nice enough to tell MT that he was the best player on the field for that game…

I wish I could say that the second half of the trip from Angelholm to Gotenburg went by quickly and that we just checked into the hotel for the night and went to bed. If I told you that, I would be lying. Most of the trip went by without any hitch, but just about 20 miles outside of Gotenburg we reached a road block set up by the Swedish police on the highway. All four vans were pulled aside at this stoppage for some extra screening by the police because we were foreigners. If I didn’t know better I would say that this was a classic case of profiling, but regardless we handed over our passports and any other information they needed before we continued on.

Once we got to Gotenburg we encountered yet another new event on this trip. It was around midnight when we arrived but people were still out around the town. In fact, this city was buzzing with people out for the night. This was in stark contrast to anything we had seen in Trelleborg where the city basically shuts down at around 5 or 6pm. It just so happened that the hotel we booked was right in the middle of all this activity much to the dismay of the coaching staff who seemed a bit worried that their team of strapping young men may get distracted and wander off into trouble. While I would love to give you guys some great stories about how we all snuck out for an epic night out on the town, we had business to take care of the next day against a very good team….just some of the sacrifices you make to compete at a high level. I think all of the guys will tell you that the sacrifices are worth it when we are given opportunities such as this trip.

Everybody love everybody and Go Irish!