Oct. 11, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three second-half goals were the difference as the 14th-ranked Notre Dame men’s soccer team captured a 4-1 league victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday night at Alumni Field. The win keeps the Irish in first place in the BIG EAST Blue Division, three points ahead of Connecticut and Providence.
Notre Dame (8-3-1, 4-1-1) received goals from Matt Besler (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West), Dave Donohue (Reading, Mass./Cushing Academy) Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) and Brendan King (Naperville, Ill./Edison Academic Center (Fla.)) in the victory. It marked the sixth time this season that the Irish have had at least three different goal scorers in a game. The output also signified the fourth time this season that Notre Dame has reached the four-goal plateau in a match.
“This is such a potent team,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “It’s a fabulous attacking team to watch. It’s without question the best attacking team I’ve had in my eight years here.”
Pittsburgh (6-5-2, 2-4-1) used an own goal in the seventh minute to claim an early lead. Notre Dame senior defender Jack Traynor (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell North) tried to clear a Panther cross, yet knocked it into the goal.
“I thought we were a little bit slacked in the back to start the game,” stated Clark. “It was maybe not focusing, but you have to give it to Pitt. I thought they came out and really hustled tremendously hard.”
It was two Kansas natives that produced the equalizer for the Irish in the 23rd minute. Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) sent a nice pass to Besler and the senior deposited his first goal of the season. The match was knotted 1-1 at the intermission. The Irish dominated the stat sheet in the opening period by claiming a 9-4 advantage in shots and a 6-0 margin in corner kicks.
The Irish took the lead in the 58th minute when Justin Morrow (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) crossed the ball to his classmate Donohue and he tallied his fifth goal of the season. The assist for Morrow was his third of the campaign.
In the 80th minute, Dike extended his personal-best goal streak to six games by hammering home a shot from the right side that sailed past Panther goalkeeper Jordan Marks. Marks, who made four saves on the night, replaced an injured Eric Barnes in the 15th minute. Dike is the first Notre Dame player to notch a goal in six straight matches since Joseph Lapira did so during the 2006 season. The senior forward leads the Fighting Irish with nine goals and 21 points.
Notre Dame kept the pressure on until the late stages of the match and it resulted in the fourth goal of the night. Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain) sent a shot off the far post and King, a freshman, gathered the ball and registered the first goal of his brief Irish career. The assist was the fourth for Brovsky, which ties him for the team lead along with Thomas and Donohue.
“I thought we always looked as though we were creating chances and a lot of that credit needs to go to Jeb Brovsky and Justin Morrow,” added Clark. “I thought they were superb. Even though they didn’t get goals, I thought they were instrumental in just making passes and taking players on and really carving their defense apart.”
Senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) made three stops to up his record to 8-2-1 on the season and improve the Irish ’08 home mark to 6-0-1. For the game, Notre Dame out shot Pittsburgh 16-9 in addition to having a 7-3 edge in corner kicks.
The Irish are back in action with an in-state showdown against Indiana on Thursday, Oct. 16 in Bloomington, Ind. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
Pittsburgh (6-5-2, BE 2-4-1) 1 0 – 1
#14 Notre Dame (8-3-1, BE 4-1-1) 1 3 – 4
Shots: UP 4-5 – 9, ND 9-7 – 16
Corner Kicks: UP 0-3 – 3, ND 6-1 – 7
Saves: UP 4 (Eric Barnes 0, Jordan Marks (L) 4); ND 3 (Andrew Quinn (W) 3)
Fouls: UP 15, ND 10
Offsides: UP 0, ND 1