Nov 20, 2012, 1:10 AM EDT
Momentum is an odd thing. It cannot be captured by a mere stat sheet, cannot be measured quantitatively. It is essentially impossible to attach a value to it. Nevertheless, momentum is a factor in every sporting event. It can morph a mediocre team into a formidable one, and a very good squad into a truly great one.
The latter seems to be taking place right before our eyes, as the Irish men’s soccer team continued its winning ways with a 3-0 win over Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame is now in the midst of an eight game unbeaten streak, which includes three wins in the BIG EAST tournament to capture the conference crown.
The Irish had little trouble dispatching the Spartans on an unusually warm November day. First half goals by junior forward Harry Shipp and senior striker Ryan Finley gave Bobby Clark’s boys a two goal cushion at the half. Sophomore back Max Lachowecki poured in another in the 80th minute for the final score.
Notre Dame moves on to the round of sixteen, where it where it will square off against Indiana, the No. 16 overall seed in the tournament. The two teams met earlier this year in Bloomington. The Irish emerged victorious on a late goal by senior defender Grant Van De Casteele.
Indiana has had a bit more arduous trip to the third round than the Irish, as the Hoosiers squeaked by Kentucky, 1-0, in the opening round. They had an easier time with Xavier in the second round, netting four goals in an easy 4-1 win.
The Indiana offense is paced by sophomore attacker Eric Zavaleta, who has tickled the twine 16 times this season. This goal output is more than double that of any other Hoosier. Indiana’s defense is anchored by senior goalkeeper and captain Luis Soffner, who will enter the match boasting a paltry 0.82 goals against average.
Notre Dame will look to further add to its momentum on Sunday at 3:00 P.M. against the Hoosiers in Alumni Stadium.
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