Sept. 26, 2008
CINCINNATI, Ohio – Three second-half goals gave the third-ranked Notre Dame men’s soccer team a 3-0 victory over Cincinnati in BIG EAST play on Friday night at Gettler Stadium. Juniors Tamba Samba (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) and Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) along with senior Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) tallied goals in what was the 100th victory for head coach Bobby Clark during his Notre Dame career.
The win, which was the third straight shutout for the Irish, upped Notre Dame’s unbeaten streak to seven games. The Fighting Irish also extended their BIG EAST regular-season unbeaten streak to 15 games.
“It was a hard fought game,” commented Clark. “Their long throw-ins and corner kicks can create problems, but we handled it well. It was a good performance by us. We played some good pockets of soccer and were able to find the seams nicely.”
Notre Dame (6-1-1, 3-0-1) controlled possession early and out shot Cincinnati, 10-3, in the first half of play. A blast from Dike in the 28th minute nearly put the Fighting Irish on the board, yet a diving effort from Bearcat goalkeeper Matt Williams negated the chance. Notre Dame earned seven corner kicks in the first stanza compared to two from Cincinnati (2-4-2, 0-2-1).
The match was scoreless at the intermission.
Irish senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) was challenged early in the second half. The Bearcats sent consecutive shots on goal that were saved by Quinn in the 49th minute. Quinn made four saves on the night.
Notre Dame broke through in the 57th minute as Samba scored when he turned on a Cincinnati defender and sent the ball into the far netting. Sophomore Steven Perry (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness) collected the assist on the play. That marked the second time in two games that Perry has hooked up with Samba, who tallied his first career goal against Syracuse on Sunday.
The Bearcats tried to net the equalizer soon after the Notre Dame score, yet Quinn and the Irish defense held strong. Cincinnati registered 12 shots in the second half, while Notre Dame had six. For the game, the Irish out shot the Bearcats 16-15 along with holding a 7-6 edge in corner kicks.
The Fighting Irish continued to keep the pressure on the Cincinnati defense. In the 67th minute, Dike worked his way through three Bearcat defenders and sent a shot across the face of the goal. Minutes later, Thomas put the Irish up 2-0 when he deposited his fifth goal of the season on assists from Justin Morrow (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) and Dike.
Dike put the cap on the contest in the 88th minute when he also notched his fifth goal of the season. The senior muscled his way through the Bearcat defense and put home a shot from the top of the six-yard box. The five goals from Thomas and Dike lead the Irish on the season.
The Notre Dame defense has not allowed a goal in 306 minutes of play. Quinn is in the midst of a career-best 295:55 scoreless streak. The three straight shutouts are also a personal-best stretch for Quinn.
Notre Dame entered play on Friday night with the nation’s fourth-best scoring offense by averaging 2.57 goals per game. The Irish upped that mark on the night as they scored at least three goals in a game for the fifth time this season.
“It was great to see Tamba score again,” added Clark. “Dike’s goal was also unbelievable. He absolutely hammered that home.”
Clark is in his eighth season at the helm of the Notre Dame program and he has compiled a record of 100-39-21 at the school. He is third on Notre Dame’s career wins list. Rich Hunter (1977-83) is first with 128 wins, while Mike Berticelli (1990-99) is second with 104.
During his collegiate coaching career, Clark has a 253-102-46 record. The Scotland native is in his 22nd season of college soccer. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Clark went 71-21-12 from 1996-2000 at Stanford. He posted a mark of 82-42-13 during a nine-year stint at Dartmouth from 1985-1993.
The Irish will now travel to Louisville for a BIG EAST showdown on Sunday, Sept. 28. Game time is slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET). The match will be aired live on CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV).
#3 Notre Dame (6-1-1, BE 3-0-1) 0 3 – 3
Cincinnati (2-4-2, BE 0-2-1) 0 0 – 0
Shots: ND 10-6 – 16, UC 3-12 – 15
Corner Kicks: ND 7-0 – 7, UC 2-4 – 6
Saves: ND 4 (Andrew Quinn 4); UC 4 (Matt Williams 4)
Fouls: ND 9, UC 16
Offsides: ND 1, UC 1