Oct. 3, 2004
It was a notable 4-0 victory in more ways than one. The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team (7-2-1) dispatched Loyola-Chicago (1-9-0) 4-0 on Sunday afternoon to post the team’s best 10-game start to a season since 1988 (when the Irish began their schedule 9-0-1). The win also was number 200 in the collegiate coaching career of Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark.
“It was a very good weekend for us,” Clark said after the victory.
“We had a big victory (over #9 Boston College) on Friday and this is the type of game you might have a letdown in. The team did a good job of making sure that did not happen.
“As far as 200 wins goes, that number kind of snuck up on me.”
It was truly a team effort for the Irish on Sunday, with 21 players seeing action in the contest. Junior Tony Megna led the offensive attack with two goals (the first two-goal game of his career) including the game’s first which proved to be the game winner. Ian Etherington had a goal and an assist for the Irish, while defender Kevin Goldthwaite had two assists as well.
Chris Sawyer combined with teammate Justin Michaud for the shutout, which was the third straight for Notre Dame. Sawyer will bring a 273:20 scoreless minute streak into Thursday’s (Oct. 7, 7:00 p.m.) BIG EAST match with Pittsburgh.
Bobby Clark’s career record now stands at 200-81-33 in 17 full seasons as a collegiate head coach. He has won close to 70 percent of his matches and has averaged 12 wins for each season coached at Dartmouth, Stanford and Notre Dame.
Notre Dame controlled all of the action in the contest, holding the Ramblers to eight harmless shots while piling up 20 of its own. The Irish also led in corner kicks 8-3.
The first serious goal opportunity for the Irish came 16 minutes into the contest when Jack Stewart made a strong run up the left side of the defense. He sent the ball into the middle to Tony Megna, who tapped it to senior Luke Boughen. Boughen’s shot from just inside the box was blocked before it could find the back of the net.
Notre Dame’s first goal came after a great individual effort from Ian Etherington. The sophomore midfielder moved up the left side by beating two defenders, driving the ball close to the Loyola endline. He cut back inside and sent a cross into the heart of the defense, where Megna streaked in at the correct moment to tap the ball into the back of the net.
Megna’s goal came at 17:34 and it took the Irish less than one minute to get their second number on the scoreboard. This time, Goldthwaite made the dangerous run into the heart of Loyola’s defense from Notre Dame’s back line. Setting up Etherington from 17 yards out. Etherington trapped the ball, then turned and drilled a shot past Loyola goalkeeper Sean Bond for the spectacular goal.
After the halftime break, the Irish struck again with a familiar catalyst playing a key role in the play. Goldthwaite moved up the left side and found sophomore Nate Norman across the field – forgotten by the Loyola defense. Goldthwaite sent a great pass across the entire field to Norman down the right side, who beat two defenders and found Megna streaking in again for the third Notre Dame goal of the game.
Norman was also the spark behind Notre Dame’s fourth and final goal. Moving up the right side yet again, Norman beat two defenders and crossed the ball into the middle of the Rambler defense. McGeeney settled it down with his head and Yoshinaga was there to drill the free ball into the back of the net for his third goal of the season.
Justin Michaud did make two solid saves for the Irish while he was relieving Chris Sawyer over the last 17 minutes of the contest.