Aug. 20, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior midfielder Adam Mena deposited a free kick in the 37th minute for the game’s lone score as the Notre Dame men’s soccer team concluded exhibition play Monday night with a 1-0 win over Xavier in front of 1,667 fans at Alumni Stadium.
Mena took the attempt from 20 yards out and placed the ball into the lower left corner of the netting. The Fighting Irish nearly grabbed a two-goal lead four minutes later when senior forward Ryan Finley sent the ball just wide of the far post from six yards away after receiving a nice pass from fellow forward Harrison Shipp.
Notre Dame held an 11-10 shot advantage on the night, including a 5-4 edge in shots on goal. Senior Will Walsh started in goal for the Irish and made two saves in the first half, while junior Patrick Wall played the entire second half and also had two stops.
Walsh’s final save came in the closing seconds of the first half as he stopped a Sean Ryan shot, which came from 16 yards out.
In the 55th minute, Finley placed a header on frame from 10 yards out, yet Xavier goalkeeper Justin Marshall, who had four saves in 77:37 of action, made the stop. The Musketeers then threatened on the other end of the pitch as a Wall save was needed to negate a Calum Latham shot from outside the 18-yard box. Wall came up big again in the 63rd minute as he came off his line to stop a Darin Kruzich header.
Notre Dame’s last solid threat of the match occurred in the 72nd minute when freshman Patrick Hodan ripped a blast on goal and a leaping Marshall punched it over the crossbar.
“I thought we were a little bit slow in the first half tonight,” said Irish head coach Bobby Clark. “We looked much sharper in the first 15 minutes of the second half. We moved the ball better and quicker and started to do things. I put on some of the young guys with 30 minutes left (in the match) and they acquitted themselves well.”
All proceeds from tonight’s match benefitted Grassroot Soccer, an international non-governmental organization that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize communities against the spread of HIV in Africa. Clark’s eldest son, Tommy, is the founder of Grassroot Soccer. Bobby Clark and the Notre Dame men’s soccer camp matched the donations dollar-for-dollar.
“It was a great crowd tonight and hopefully they cost us some money,” joked Clark. “Grassroot Soccer is special for me because of Tommy being so involved. This was our ninth year doing a game for Grassroot Soccer and we are proud of that.”
The Fighting Irish posted a 3-0-1 record during preseason play. Notre Dame won two matches at Northern Illinois (2-0, 3-0) on Aug. 12 and then played the Chivas Guadalajara Under-23 team to a 1-1 draw on Thursday.
Notre Dame will open the regular season Saturday at home versus Duke. Kickoff between the Fighting Irish and Blue Devils is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Stadium.
All 2012 Notre Dame home matches that are not televised can be seen live on UND.com. The streaming broadcasts are free of charge. Log on to UND.com to stay up to date on the Fighting Irish men’s soccer team throughout the 2012 campaign.
Alumni Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.
August 20, 2012 (Exhibition)
Xavier 0 0 – 0
Notre Dame 1 0 – 1
Scoring: ND: Adam Mena (unassisted) 36:36
Shots: XU 4-6 – 10, ND 7-4 – 11
Corner Kicks: XU 0-4 – 4, ND 0-2 – 2
Goalkeepers: XU: Justin Marshall – 4 SV, 1 GA, 77:37, L; Vince Shaw – 0 SV, 0 GA, 12:23
ND: Will Walsh – 2 SV, 0 GA, 45:00, W; Patrick Wall – 2 SV, 0 GA, 45:00
Offsides: XU 4, ND 2