Apr 1, 2014, 10:01 PM EDT
Brendan Lesch tallied two goals and an assist in the midday game and Notre Dame rode a steady effort from its veterans in the nightcap to earn a sweep over the host Evansville Aces on Saturday.
The Irish and Aces played a shortened, sixty minute match in the morning and a full game in the evening. Both coaches trotted out a young lineup in the first tilt and showcased their more experienced players in the second.
It was Lesch’s first game back since tearing his ACL in Notre Dame’s opening scrimmage last fall against Creighton. The junior midfielder’s presence was felt immediately, as he sent a header into the back of the net just minutes into the contest. Lesch scored again just before halftime, and assisted on a second half strike by senior Leon Brown. The game ended 3-0, with Lesch having a part in all three scores.
The stands were full for the nighttime matchup; skipper Bobby Clark estimated that the crowd totaled a few thousand fans. A huge portion of this group came out to support Max Lachowecki, who hails from Evansville and starred at local parochial power Reitz Memorial High School. Multiple television cameras and news reporters were on the scene to document the junior defender’s homecoming. Evansville’s Arad McCutchan Stadium was abuzz, quite unusual for a college soccer exhibition in mid-March.
Needless to say, this group of Notre Dame athletes has competed in much louder, more electric venues, and proceeded to calmly overwhelm the Aces. Sophomore Connor Klekota got the Irish on the board first with a clever back heel goal. The Irish broke through again late in the second half on a fine goal by sophomore Evan Panken, and the game ended 2-0.
Though the scores of both games might not indicate complete dominance, Clark was impressed at the stamp his squad put on both games.
“I thought we really controlled both games,” Clark said. “It was really good. Everybody played, and had a good bit of time.”
The Irish will split up into two totally mixed teams in practice this week and square off against Western Michigan and Valparaiso this coming Sunday. Both games will be played on Notre Dame’s practice fields.
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