Notre Dame Explodes With Four Second-Half Goals To Top No. 7 Louisville, 4-0
Sept. 25, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - A four-goal outburst in the second half propelled the No. 21 Notre Dame men's soccer team to a 4-0 triumph of No. 7 Louisville in BIG EAST play on Friday evening at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame (4-3-1, 2-1-0) used four different goal scorers to notch the victory. Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas), Steven Perry (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness), Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) and Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain) did the damage for the Fighting Irish. Thomas, Brovsky, Dike and Dave Donohue (Reading, Mass./Cushing Academy) all had assists to help hand Louisville its first loss of the season. The Cardinals had only surrendered one goal this season prior to tonight's match.
Louisville (5-1-1, 2-1-0) pressured the Irish in the initial stages of the first half, but could not get anything into the back of the net. Notre Dame senior goalkeeper Philip Tuttle (Hooksett, N.H./Brewster Academy) made three saves on the night to collect his second shutout of the season and move his record to 3-2-0.
The Fighting Irish upped their attack in the later stages of the opening half. Notre Dame's best chance of the period came with 13:30 on the clock as sophomore Brendan King (Naperville, Ill./Edison Academic Center (Fla.)) sent a free kick into the box that was punched out by Louisville goalkeeper Andre Boudreaux. A follow-up shot by Thomas went wide of the goal. Notre Dame out shot Louisville 7-5 in the first half and 12-10 for the match.
"They (Louisville) put us under a lot of pressure in the first 25 minutes of the game," said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. "I thought we got a grip of the game in the last 20 minutes of the first half. We were going against the wind in the first half and their goalie was really kicking the ball well in that half. We were able to get a little better hold of the ball in the second half. They are very good at set pieces and I felt like we handled them well."
Notre Dame did not waste much time in the second half to get on the board as Thomas, a senior midfielder, headed in a Donohue free kick in the 49th minute. That was Thomas' third goal of the season.
The Cardinals nearly netted the equalizer with 32 minutes remaining in the match as a header from Phil Edington hit the post.
As the Irish came back down the field, Thomas played the ball ahead to Perry inside the 18-yard box and the junior forward sent it past Boudreaux, who had come off his line, and into the lower left corner with 30:46 showing on the clock. It was Perry's second goal of the season and Thomas' team-best fourth assist.
Notre Dame upped its cushion to three in the 75th minute when Brovsky flicked the ball ahead to Dike and the senior forward rolled it past a charging Boudreaux from outside the 18-yrad box. Dike, who has now scored a goal in three straight matches, has a team-high six tallies on the season.
The final score came just over two minutes later as Dike returned the favor when he dribbled past a Cardinal defender near the end line and crossed the ball to Brovsky and the junior forward blasted it into the back of the netting. Brovsky has three goals on the campaign.
"Louisville is a very good team," stated Clark. "I was a little concerned with our young defense before the game. But I must be honest, I thought our defense was terrific. I thought John Schaefer and Chris Sutton were immense in the middle of the back and won all the headers they had to win. I thought Matt Armstrong and Michael Thomas picked up the second balls. Once we began connecting passes I thought we got a grip of the game. To be fair, the four goals did flatter us a bit because they had to press forward after the second goal and that opened up spaces in the back for us. It certainly wasn't a 4-0 game, but it was a very good result for us."
The four goals scored in the second half were the most goals scored in a single period by the Irish since they netted four in the first half in a 5-0 win over USF last season. The Bulls were ranked fifth at the time of that meeting and that marked Notre Dame's last victory against a top-10 opponent until tonight.
Notre Dame has scored three or more goals on three occasions so far this season. The other instances came against Michigan (5-0) and Seattle (3-0). All of those performances have taken place at the brand new Alumni Stadium.
Next up for the Irish will be a date with BIG EAST foe Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Alumni Stadium. The match, which follows the Notre Dame versus Louisville women's game, is slated for a 3:30 p.m. (ET) start. Both matches will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports.