Sept. 21, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Third-ranked Notre Dame used goals from three different players to notch a 3-0 win over Syracuse in BIG EAST men’s soccer action on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Field. Senior Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) along with juniors Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) and Tamba Samba (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) netted goals for the Irish.
Notre Dame (5-1-1, 2-0-1) scored three times on a Syracuse defense that had only surrendered one goal in six previous games this season to up its unbeaten streak to six games. The loss was the first setback of the season for the Orange (4-1-2, 1-1-0).
Dike put the Fighting Irish on the board in the third minute when he gathered in a long pass from junior midfielder Dave Donohue (Reading, Mass./Cushing Academy), made a move and placed the ball into the upper-right corner. That was Dike’s fourth goal of the season, which ties him with Donohue and Thomas for team-high honors. Donohue leads the Irish with four assists.
The Fighting Irish went up by two in the 23rd minute when Thomas deposited a free kick. The junior was positioned on the left side of the pitch and he sent a low shot into the far netting.
Notre Dame sealed the match early in the second half when Samba tallied his first collegiate goal. The sequence began as sophomore Steven Perry (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness) held the ball and found Samba to his right and the junior booted it into the upper-left side of the goal in the 51st minute.
“It was a very good offensive performance,” said Irish head coach Bobby Clark. “We had a lot of chances even though we didn’t convert on all of them. The big thing today was the play of Steven Perry and Tamba Samba. They were terrific. They came on and for the first time this season I feel they really stamped their authority in a game and that was terrific.”
The Irish nearly grabbed a four-goal advantage on a couple of occasions later in the second half. In the 64th minute, Samba played the ball to Justin Morrow (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) and he sent a shot just high of the frame. Four minutes later, freshman Brendan King (Naperville, Ill./Edison Academic Center (Fla.)) appeared to have a goal as he beat Syracuse goalkeeper Robert Cavicchia, but the score was negated because King was ruled offsides.
Syracuse could never mount a serious threat on goal, yet the Orange still registered 14 shots. The Irish produced 17 shots and held a 7-4 edge in corner kicks. Notre Dame senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) made a career-high eight saves to collect his second straight shutout. Quinn and the Irish defense have three shutouts on the season. Cavicchia made four stops, while allowing all three goals, for the Orange.
“(Matt) Besler and (Aaron) Maund also deserve special mention today,” added Clark about his two central defenders. “Syracuse must be the biggest team I’ve ever played against. They were a huge team and a very physical team. I thought both Maund and Besler handled that physical challenge superbly.”
The Irish will now hit the road for three straight games. The journey begins with a BIG EAST match at Cincinnati on Friday, Sept. 26. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (ET).
Syracuse (4-1-2, BE 1-1-0) 0 0 – 0
#3 Notre Dame (5-1-1, BE 2-0-1) 2 1 – 3
Shots: SU 5-9 – 14, ND 7-10 – 17
Corner Kicks: SU 3-1 – 4, ND 3-4 – 7
Saves: SU 4 (Robert Cavicchia 4); ND 8 (Andrew Quinn 8)
Fouls: SU 11, ND 18
Offsides: SU 0, ND 3