Sep 10, 2012, 8:34 PM EDT
In my previous post, I advised Irish fans to wait until the end of the 11th annual Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament to tab this year’s Notre Dame men’s soccer squad as one worthy of great expectations and enthusiasm. At the time, the Irish were 3-0-0 but had yet to knock off a team currently ranked in the Top 25.
Fast forward four days, and I’m eating my words. No. 13 Notre Dame knocked off a solid Oregon State team, 1-0, on Friday and triumphed over No. 4 Akron, 3-1, on Sunday to secure the tournament title. The Irish sport an unblemished 5-0-0 record and have certainly made a compelling case for themselves to be considered one of the nation’s premier teams.
Notre Dame squeaked by the Beavers on Friday night behind a late goal by sophomore defender Max Lachowecki. Conditions were very wet and goals were hard to come by, but the Irish were able to mount a consistent offensive attack throughout the night. In the 81st minute, Lachowecki made a great run up the left flank and shot a rocket that slipped just inside the far post. It was the sophomore’s first collegiate goal.
Coming off of a 1-0 win over No. 10 Indiana on Friday, Akron came into Sunday’s match with the utmost confidence. It showed early on, as the Zips produced a goal in the fourth minute. The tide turned, however, when Akron midfielder Aodhan Quinn was issued a red card late in the first half, forcing the Zips to play a man down the rest of the way. Notre Dame took full advantage of this mismatch and went on to score three goals in the second half to blow a close game into a comfortable win. Junior striker Leon Brown, senior midfielder and captain Dillon Powers, and senior forward Ryan Finley found the net for the Irish.
Notre Dame has nearly a week off before it squares off against Michigan State this Friday at Alumni Stadium. The team will need to avoid a letdown following such a trademark win; judging by its recent play, however, this will prove to be no problem at all.
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