Aug 18, 2013
OMAHA, Neb. - Even though the scoreboard read 1-0 in favor of Creighton, the No. 7 Notre Dame men's soccer team was able to take away some positives from the exhibition-opening setback to the sixth-ranked Blue Jays in front of 3,212 fans Sunday afternoon at Morrison Stadium.
A goal from Carlos McCrary, which was assisted by Marvin Iskra, in the 87th minute was the difference as the Blue Jays topped the Irish in Sunday's first game. The two squads played to a scoreless draw during the day's second match, which was 60 minutes in length.
The first contest mostly featured Notre Dame's veterans, while the second game showcased some of the team's younger players. The fact that every available student-athlete competed was crucial for head coach Bobby Clark and his staff since they were able to evaluate where they stand less than a week into fall training camp.
"I felt we played really well," Clark said about the first match. "I thought it was a very good game. Creighton is a very good team and they were a final four team last season. It was a good test for us and I thought we deserved a tie, but we got caught on a transition goal that we didn't defend well."
Learning from a loss is a key element of sports and it's a bonus when that loss didn't count. Sunday's setback luckily will not make it into the all-time records, but the lessons learned could have a big impact on what final record will be listed for the 2013 edition of the Fighting Irish.
"There are a lot of things we have to do better," Clark said. "We didn't handle their pressure well enough, especially in the first half. There were still more positives than negatives from today especially since our first practice (of the season) was on Wednesday. Both teams are in the same situation with that and if you take that into consideration it was a very good game. It was a fantastic atmosphere in one of the nicest college soccer venues in the country. It was a fun atmosphere to be a part of. "
The Fighting Irish held a 3-2 edge in shots on goal in the opening match. Notre Dame started Patrick Wall in goal and the senior made one save in just over 65 minutes of action. Omaha native Brian Talcott, a sophomore, replaced Wall and played the rest of the match. Creighton's Alex Bolowich was in goal for the entire game and made three saves.
"Earning a tie in the second game was fair," Clark said. "It was a nice game and all of our guys played, which was a lot of fun. It's fun when you can get everyone in and it makes the trip better."
Notre Dame will continue its exhibition slate Wednesday at Drake. The Fighting Irish and Bulldogs will play two matches with the first scheduled for approximately 5 p.m. (CT). The Irish will conclude their preseason schedule Aug. 26 with a home match versus Ohio State before opening the regular season Aug. 30 against No. 9 UCLA at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington, Ind.