Aug 26, 2014, 9:01 PM EDT
It’s common speak in soccer circles – 2-0 is the most dangerous lead to hold. It appears large enough to warrant a more relaxed approach by the squad ahead, but all too often, succumbing to this notion results in a quick goal by the opposing team. In an instant, the leading team finds itself dogfight without any momentum.
Great squads refuse to fall victim to the lull of the 2-0 lead. They continue to press, to attack, to stay on the offensive. Notre Dame found itself it this very situation in its final preseason game, and proved its mettle in an impressive 5-1 victory over Wisconsin.
Quick first-half goals by Leon Brown and Patrick Hodan put the Irish up 2-0 through thirty minutes. For the rest of the opening frame, however, Notre Dame seemed to lose any sense of urgency. The Badgers controlled possession and peppered Irish keeper Patrick Wall with constant shots. When the whistle blew to signal the end of the half, Notre Dame’s lead appeared precarious at best.
Luckily, the Irish instantly appeared more energized and physical after the break, and poured in two goals in the second half’s opening minutes to put the game out of reach.
“I thought we opened the game well and played pretty well up until we scored the second goal,” head coach Bobby Clark said. “And then we kind of just stopped for the rest of the first half. We talked at halftime, and they put on a show to open the second half. They responded very well.”
Evan Panken, Brandon Aubrey, and Jon Gallagher scored for Notre Dame in the final frame. Despite losing star forward Harry Shipp to graduation, the Irish appear to have more than enough firepower on the offensive end.
”We’ve been working hard in practice on our finishing and attacking plays, so it was good to come out here and do what we did,” Leon Brown said. “We have a lot of depth up top this year, so we’ll look for a lot of guys to come up big in big times.”
The easy win is certainly encouraging for the Irish, especially considering the daunting nature of their first two games. Notre Dame plays #12 Marquette and #9 Georgetown next weekend in Bloomington, Ind. Clark knows that his players will have their hands full.
“There’s no question, they’ll want our scalp,” Clark said. “Those will be absolute battles.”
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