Oct. 8, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three-point efforts from senior forward Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) and junior midfielder Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) helped the No. 14 Notre Dame men’s soccer team to a 3-0 victory over Michigan State in non-conference play on Wednesday night at Alumni Field. Sophomore forward Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain) also added a goal for the Irish.
Notre Dame (7-3-1) pressured the Spartans from the outset of the match. The Fighting Irish nearly opened the scoring in the fourth minute as Thomas headed a Matt Besler (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) throw-in on frame, yet the ball was cleared out by a Michigan State defender. Dike then missed on the follow.
In the 39th minute, Thomas was positioned near midfield and sent a header in to Dike and the senior put home his team-leading eighth goal of the season. Dike, who also has a team-high 19 points, has scored in five straight games for the Irish.
Notre Dame led 1-0 at the intermission. The Fighting Irish defense held the Spartan offense to just three shots in each half. Michigan State (5-5-0) managed just four shots on goal for the entire match.
“That was a hard game because they (Michigan State) came down ready to play,” stated Irish head coach Bobby Clark, whose team was coming off back-to-back setbacks. “I thought our first-half performance was very good, even though we just got the one goal. I felt we really controlled the game.”
Michigan State upped its pressure in the second half and the Spartans looked as though they might net the equalizer in the 63rd minute. Forward Doug DeMartin collected the ball and was headed straight for the goal and a one-on-one match up with Fighting Irish goalkeeper Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha). However, DeMartin was stripped of the ball by freshman defender Aaron Maund (Dorchester, Mass./The Roxbury Latin School) near the top of the 18-yard box. DeMartin entered play on Wednesday night ranked second in the nation by averaging 1.11 goals per game, yet the Irish limited him to just one shot.
The Irish claimed a two-goal advantage in the 67th minute when junior Justin Morrow (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) played the ball to Brovsky, who placed a shot underneath Spartan goalkeeper Avery Steinlage for his second goal of the season. Steinlage made three saves on the night, while Quinn had four stops to move his record to 7-2-1 on the season. The shutout was Quinn’s fifth of the campaign.
The match was put out of reach with just over four minutes left on the clock. Dike had the ball on the right endline and lofted a pass to Thomas and the junior headed home his sixth goal of the campaign.
“I thought we controlled the second half, except for one 10-minute period right before Michael Thomas scored the third goal,” added Clark. “I thought our midfield did an excellent job at pressuring tonight. I thought they were very good at working and defending and that set the tone for the game.”
Notre Dame held a decisive 17-6 advantage in shots on the night. The Irish, who have scored at least three goals in six games this season, also managed to gain one more corner kick (3-2) than the Spartans. All five of the game’s corner kicks came in the first half.
The Fighting Irish return to BIG EAST play with a home showdown against Pittsburgh on Saturday, Oct. 11. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Field.
Michigan State (5-5-0) 0 0 – 0
#14 Notre Dame (7-3-1) 1 2 – 3
Shots: MSU 3-3 – 6, ND 10-7 – 17
Corner Kicks: MSU 2-0 – 2, ND 3-0 – 3
Saves: MSU 4 (Avery Steinlage 3, Team 1); ND 4 (Andrew Quinn 4)
Fouls: MSU 9, ND 20
Offsides: MSU 0, ND 0