Sep 15, 2012, 10:13 AM EDT
Notre Dame 2 – Michigan State 0
It was a beautiful evening at Alumni Stadium when Notre Dame and Michigan State took the field for the first game in the Big East-Big Ten Challenge. The other game is Marquette playing Michigan and the games will be reversed on Sunday when Notre Dame head for Ann Arbor to play the Wolverines.
The 2,000-plus crowd was treated to a very entertaining game. Both teams were very committed but brought different styles to the table. The Spartans lived up to their name and were big, strong and athletic. They played a more direct game, knocking the ball forward and looked to pick up second balls and go from there. The Irish played a connecting game finding seams with their passes and intricately weaving their way. It was after one such passing combination that saw the Irish on the edge of the Spartan box. Ryan Finley tried a neat combination with a teammate, but it hit a defender and broke to Harry Shipp. Harry wasted no time, took a touch, and hammered the ball high into State’s net from around 18 yards. This was in the 27th minute and was enough to see Notre Dame take a 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The second half saw a much more dominant Notre Dame, and in the 53rd minute Patrick Hodan scored his first goal in an Irish uniform. It came from a corner kick which was headed out by the Spartan defense. It fell to young Hodan just outside the penalty box and he took a touch to set the ball up then volleyed it high into the net to make the score 2-0.
After that there were several opportunities to put the game to bed, but Michigan State kept hanging around and made the last 10 minutes of the game entertaining with a couple of shots that hit the Irish crossbar. All in all a hard fought, but deserved victory and this now sets us up for for the second part of the Big East-Big Ten challenge in Ann Arbor on Sunday at 2:00 pm.
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