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Irish Enter Home Tournament Undefeated

Sep 6, 2012, 1:19 AM EST

3-0-0 for the first time since 2004, the Notre Dame men’s soccer team looks to keep it rolling this weekend as the host of the 11th annual Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament.

The Irish will play at Alumni Stadium for the next three contests after claiming the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic this past weekend in Bloomington. Notre Dame began the tournament by topping San Diego State last Friday by a tally of 3-2. Senior forward Ryan Finley notched two goals and junior forward Harry Shipp added one goal and two assists. They earned the title on Sunday with a 2-1 victory over Clemson. Junior striker Alex Priede and senior midfielder Dillon Powers found the net for the Irish.

Finley, Powers, Shipp, and sophomore midfielder Nick Besler represented Notre Dame on the all-tournament team. Finley, who leads the team in goals (3) and points (7), was named the Big East’s Offensive Player of the Week and selected to the College Soccer News national team of the week. Shipp, who leads the team in assists with three in addition to his two goals, was included on Top Drawer Soccer’s national team of the week.

Despite boasting an unblemished record, Notre Dame has certainly been tested. All three of their wins have been by a mere goal. Timely goals and stalwart defense have been key in keeping the streak alive, and more of the same will be needed this weekend. On the docket for the home squad are Oregon State on Friday and Akron on Sunday. The sixth-ranked Zips will especially test the mettle of Irish.

While Notre Dame has played well in these first three games, let’s look at the stretch for what it is: a modest three game winning streak with no wins against teams currently ranked in the Top 25. The 2011 Irish stormed out of the gate to a 5-1-2 start, only to falter down the stretch and miss the NCAA tournament by a hair. So while the team’s play thus far certainly warrants enthusiasm, let’s temper it for now. Hopefully by the end of this weekend, I’ll be singing a different tune.

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