Aug. 24, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A goal from junior forward Steven Perry (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness) in the 23rd minute was the difference as No. 12 Notre Dame topped No. 9 Northwestern, 1-0, in exhibition play on Monday evening. The contest was played in front of 1,756 fans at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame controlled possession for much of the first half. The Fighting Irish nearly connected with 30:35 left on the clock in the opening stanza as senior forward Tamba Samba (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) drilled a shot off the left post. Perry threatened four minutes later, yet Wildcat goalkeeper Drew Kotler saved the close-range shot.
The Irish did connect with 22:06 left in the first half when junior midfielder Josh Thiermann (Stoughton, Wis./Stoughton) placed the ball up ahead to his classmate Perry and he chipped it by Kotler and into the back of the net.
“I felt we were very good at the first two-thirds of each half, but the final third of each half I felt that whichever group we had in got tired,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “We had some terrific stuff at times. When we played simply and we all just connected I was very happy. We have the potential to be a good group. It was a great goal for Steven Perry. I thought he looked very spritely in the first half along with Josh Thiermann.”
Notre Dame’s best chance in the second half resulted in a shot placed just wide by senior forward Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) following a nice sequence of passes from junior Greg Klazura (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) and freshman Dillon Powers (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior) with 37:19 showing on the clock.
The Fighting Irish owned a 13-8 margin in shots, while Northwestern had two corner kicks compared to Notre Dame’s one.
Senior Philip Tuttle (Hooksett, N.H./Brewster Academy) played the first half in goal for the Irish and made two saves. Fellow senior Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) was in goal for the second half and did not need to make a stop despite late pressure from the Wildcats. Kotler made five saves in 63:28 of action. His replacement Jonathan Harris did not make a save.
Admission to the match was $1 with all proceeds benefiting Grassroot Soccer, an international AIDS awareness and education organization that reaches youth in Africa through soccer clinics. Further donations were welcome and the final amount will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a Notre Dame soccer alumnus, who wishes to remain anonymous, along with the Notre Dame men’s soccer camp.
“It was a great crowd tonight,” commented Clark. “I hope they come back once we are in the new stadium because this is going to be a fun team. They were great I hope Grassroot Soccer really benefitted from that.”
Notre Dame will open the regular season at home against Michigan on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. (ET). Ticket information for the entire 2009 Fighting Irish men’s soccer season can be found at und.com/tickets or by calling the Notre Dame ticket office at (574) 631-7356.
Alumni Field â€¢ Notre Dame, Ind.
#9 Northwestern 0 0 – 0
#12 Notre Dame 1 0 – 1