Aug. 25, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - A goal from senior forward Ryan Finley in the 76th minute was the difference as the No. 18 Notre Dame men's soccer team opened the season Saturday with a 1-0 win over No. 21 Duke in front of 2,542 fans at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame (1-0-0) dominated the stat sheet as the Irish held a commanding 18-4 advantage in shots, including an 8-1 margin in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also had 11 corner kicks compared to just one for the Blue Devils (0-1-0).
Finley, who transferred to Notre Dame from Duke following his sophomore season, had a game-high five shots, including four on goal. The Irish senior was denied three times in the second half by Duke goalkeeper James Belshaw before finding the back of the net with less than 15 minutes remaining in the contest.
The scoring sequence began when Notre Dame central midfielder Dillon Powers sent a thru ball to forward Harrison Shipp and he played it back to Finley, who scored from 15 yards out for the team's first goal of the campaign. Finley had a team-high seven goals last season for the Fighting Irish.
"The statistics tonight didn't lie," said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. "Duke had a fantastic goalkeeper today and he made some very good saves. We shouldn't have been hanging on in the last minute because we should have put this game to bed."
Irish senior goalkeeper Will Walsh made one save on the night to collect his 10th career shutout. Belshaw had seven stops for the Blue Devils.
"Our second-half performance was superb," added Clark. "Our conditioning was very good and we looked like a very fit team. What was great about tonight was that we had some injuries, but we had guys come in and step up. Today was a real team victory. It was a good way to start the season."
Duke was whistled for 22 fouls and picked up four yellow cards, while Notre Dame committed six fouls and was booked with two yellow cards.
The win improved the Irish to 7-3-2 in season openers under Clark. Andrew O'Malley (Jr./D), Alex Priede (Jr./F), Nick Besler (So./M) and Max Lachowecki (So./D) all made their first career start in tonight's match.
The Fighting Irish return to action Friday against San Diego State at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington, Ind. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. (ET) at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
Alumni Stadium Notre Dame, Ind.
#21 Duke (0-1-0) 0 0 - 0
Shots: DU 3-1 - 4, ND 6-12 - 18