Oct. 24, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The seventh-ranked Fighting Irish men's soccer team overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit with three second-half goals to claim a 3-1 win over No. 3 Marquette in BIG EAST action on Wednesday evening at Alumni Stadium. Senior forward Ryan Finley netted two goals, while fellow senior Kyle Richard had one.
Notre Dame (13-3-0, 5-2-0) is in a four-way tie along with Connecticut, Georgetown and Marquette atop the BIG EAST Blue Division standings. All four teams are 5-2 in league play. The Irish will close out the regular season Saturday at Marquette.
The Fighting Irish started Wednesday's match strong by registering eight shots, including three on goal, in the first 23 minutes. Junior forward Leon Brown ricocheted a shot off the crossbar in the 14th minute and Notre Dame's best chance of the stanza came in the 22nd minute when midfielder Dillon Powers played the ball to forward Harrison Shipp inside the 18-yard box, but Marquette goalkeeper Charlie Lyon made a diving save to stop Shipp's shot.
Marquette (14-2-0, 5-2-0) went on top in the 25th minute when Paul Dillon placed a corner kick into the box and Axel Sjoberg headed it into the back of the net. The Golden Eagles led 1-0 at halftime.
"We opened the game very well and we could have had two or three goals in the first 15 minutes," said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark, whose team is 4-1 against top-10 competition this season. "We then lost our way and they got the goal. They (Marquette) are a good team and they have some very good players.
"It was a hard little spell there, but I thought we came out in the second half and got our game together. We started playing and some of the stuff was magnificent. Their goalkeeper had some fantastic saves in the second period."
Irish freshman Patrick Hodan nearly produced the equalizer in the 54th minute as his free kick from right outside the penalty box was sent towards the far post and a diving Lyon deflected the ball away.
All three Fighting Irish goals occurred in a span of 6:26. Richard leveled the match in the 55th minute when he gathered the ball after a failed clear by the Golden Eagles and blasted it into the left side of the netting from 17 yards out. It was the first career goal for the senior midfielder.
Finley was tripped up in the box in the 60th minute and buried the penalty kick attempt. The senior forward is 4-for-4 from the penalty spot this season.
Just over a minute later, Hodan slipped a pass to Finley, who deposited his second tally of the night and his team-leading 16th goal of the season. Finley has 10 goals in the last six contests and tonight was his fifth multiple-goal game of the season.
Notre Dame junior goalkeeper Patrick Wall made a career-high eight saves to improve his record to 7-1 this season. He made a couple crucial stops late in the match to keep it a two-goal lead for the Irish. Lyon had six saves for Marquette. The Fighting Irish had a 22-16 advantage in shots and a 6-5 edge in corner kicks.
The Irish have tallied three or more goals in a game seven times this season, including in each of the last three matches. The three goals were the most allowed by Marquette this season. The Golden Eagles entered the match with a 0.60 goals-against average.
Notre Dame finished its regular-season home slate with a perfect 8-0 record.
These two teams will square off again on Saturday in Milwaukee, Wis. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (CT) at Valley Fields.
"It's an unbelievable league (the BIG EAST)," said Clark. "There are four teams from the Blue Division in the top 10 in the country and they're all fighting for spots one, two, three and four (in the division). It's going to go right down to the line and anything could happen. I think all four teams could win the league and all four teams could possibly end up being fourth. You don't get any more exciting than that and it's going to be a huge game up in Milwaukee on Saturday night."
Alumni Stadium Notre Dame, Ind.
#3 Marquette (14-2-0, 5-2-0) 1 0 - 1
Shots: MU 7-9 - 16, ND 9-13- 22