Seniors Michael Thomas (top) and Bright Dike (bottom) celebrate one of Dike's three goals on the night.

Irish Open Stadium In Fine Fashion With 5-0 Win Over Michigan

Sept. 1, 2009

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 10th-ranked Notre Dame men’s soccer team opened Alumni Stadium in grand fashion on Tuesday evening by topping No. 21 Michigan, 5-0, behind a hat trick from senior forward Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North). The contest, which was played in front of 1,818 fans, was the season opener for both squads.

Juniors Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain) and Steven Perry (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness) also netted goals in the victory. Collecting assists on the night were Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas), Tamba Samba (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis), Matt Armstrong (Phoenix, Ariz./North Canyon) and Dillon Powers (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior).

Notre Dame (1-0-0) opened the scoring in the 26th minute as Brovsky headed in a cross from Thomas, a senior midfielder. Dike nearly capitalized two minutes later when he played the ball past Michigan goalkeeper Chris Blais, but his open-net shot went off the left post.

Michigan (0-1-0) had its best opportunity of the first half with just under three minutes remaining when Cam Cameron sent the ball wide left from inside the 18-yard box. The Fighting Irish led 1-0 at halftime.

The Irish came out on fire in the second half. Notre Dame upped its advantage to two in the 50th minute when Samba drew Blais towards him and the Irish senior crossed the ball to Perry who turned and scored.

The final three goals of the match all came from Dike, who netted the first hat trick of his Irish career. His first tally came with 63:51 elapsed in the contest as blasted the ball into the upper right corner of the net. Dike’s second goal was scored in the 71st minute off a pass from the junior Armstrong. The senior forward completed his stellar evening with a goal that was assisted by Powers, a freshman midfielder.

Dike was not the only one pressuring the Wolverines as Samba and Thomas had headers that were saved near the 30-minute mark of the second half. Samba also appeared to net a goal of his own in the 48th minute, yet it was negated due to an offsides call. Junior midfielder Josh Thiermann (Stoughton, Wis./Stoughton) played the ball to Samba following a nice run.

The Wolverines nearly cracked the scoreboard with 25:42 left in the match as Daniel Gray sent a shot off the crossbar. Another Michigan scoring opportunity came in the 89th minute as Cameron’s shot on goal was cleared off the line by Thomas to preserve the shutout.

Notre Dame held a 23-17 advantage in shots. The Irish earned eight corner kicks compared to five from the Wolverines. Senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) picked up the win for the Irish as he made three saves in 83:22 of action. Fellow senior Philip Tuttle (Hooksett, N.H./Brewster Academy) played the final 6:38 of the match. Blais had six saves in the loss.

“It was a great way to open up,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “To be honest, I thought the score flattered us a bit. We made the most of our chances, but they (Michigan) also had some chances. They have some good players and it was actually a pretty good game. They certainly kept us honest in the back. It wasn’t a 5-0 game where we could yawn. We were happy to see the third goal go in because they had been pushing the game and Andrew Quinn had made a couple pretty good saves at vital times.”

The five-goal outburst was the first for the Fighting Irish since a 5-0 triumph of South Florida on Sept. 7, 2008. The five tallies are the most in a season opener for Notre Dame since a 5-0 victory over Villanova in 2001. That was Clark’s first game with the Irish.

“It was a fun night,” stated Clark. “We came out last night and practiced on the field for the first time and I had as big a buzz that I’ve ever had walking into any stadium. It was a great way to open it up tonight.”

Next up for the Irish will be a trip down state to take part in the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington, Ind. Notre Dame will face No. 3 Wake Forest on Friday, Sept. 4 at 5:00 p.m. (ET). The Fighting Irish will then face top-ranked St. John’s on Sunday, Sept. 6 at 11:30 a.m. during the second and final day of the event. The match against the Red Storm is a non-conference game and will not count towards the BIG EAST standings.

Alumni Stadium • Notre Dame, Ind.
Sept. 1, 2009

#21 Michigan (0-1-0) 0 0 – 0
#10 Notre Dame (1-0-0) 1 4 – 5

ND: Jeb Brovsky (Michael Thomas) 25:03; ND: Steven Perry (Tamba Samba) 49:09; ND: Bright Dike (unassisted) 63:51; ND: Bright Dike (Matt Armstrong) 70:55; ND: Bright Dike (Dillon Powers) 76:02

Shots: UM 6-11 – 17, ND 11-12 – 23
Corner Kicks: UM 1-4 – 5, ND 5-3 – 8
Saves: UM 7 (Chris Blais, L, 6, Team 1); ND 4 (Andrew Quinn, W, 3; Philip Tuttle 0; Team 1)
Fouls: UM 10, ND 13
Offsides: UM 1, ND 4