September 2, 1998
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Freshman Shane Walton (San Diego, Calif.) scored two goals and dished off two assists in his collegiate debut while senior Ben Bocklage (St. Louis, Mo.) also added two goals an assist to lead the Notre Dame men's soccer team to a 6-1 victory over Valparaiso in its season opener.
The six goals scored by the Irish represented the most by the Irish in a season opener since the 1995 campaign when Notre Dame opened up with a 8-0 victory at home against DePaul.
Junior Ryan Cox (Broadview Hts, Ohio), sidelined for the 1997 season with an ankle injury, returned to the lineup to score a goal and dish off two assists. In addition, sophomore Reggie McKnight (Greenville, S.C.) added a goal and an assist in the win.
With the victory, Notre Dame improves its record to 13-7-2 in season openers.
Notre Dame scored a flurry of goals late in the first half while outshooting Valparaiso 11-2. The first came at the 33:22 mark when centered a pass from Andrew Aris (Auckland, New Zealand) and lofted it into the net from 18 yards out. McKnight tallied Notre Dame's second goal less than five minutes later when he scored from the left side of the box following a Walton feed. Walton then scored his first collegiate goal with 49 seconds left in the half as he shot it past Crusader goalkeeper Aaron Rhame eight yards out off a Cox assist.
Notre Dame kept the pressure on Valparaiso in the second half. Cox netted Notre Dame's first goal of the second half at the 50:51 mark when he headed in Walton feed right in front of the goal.
Bocklage put the Irish up 5-0 in the game when he blasted a shot from the top of the box that was assisted by McKnight at 60:25. Less than five minutes later, Walton tallied Notre Dame's sixth and final score of the evening when he got off a shot from the top of the penalty box after centering a pass from Cox.
Valparaiso's only goal of the evening was scored off Scott Daly's penalty kick at 69:39.
Notre Dame's victory over Valparaiso marked the 26th for the Irish against the Crusaders in as many meetings between the two schools. The Irish have outscored Valparaiso 32-2 in the last seven meetings.
Coach Mike Berticelli's squad returns to action on Saturday, September 5 when they open up BIG EAST play at Syracuse. Game time is 7:00 p.m.