No. 12 MU Falls Short In 2-1 Loss To No. 1 Notre Dame

C. Nortey
Aug. 29, 2014

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BLOOMINGTON, Indiana - The No. 12 Marquette University men's soccer team (0-1-0) struck first but couldn't hang on in a 2-1 loss to the defending national champion Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0-0) Friday night in the first game of the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic.

Friday's season-opening contest against former BIG EAST Conference rival and top-ranked Notre Dame on a muggy evening at Armstrong Stadium officially kicked off the 50th year of the Marquette men's soccer program.

"This was a tough game - a tough game physically, a tough game tactically and also a tough game technically, because both teams made it that way," said MU head coach Louis Bennett.

The Irish, who returned nine starters from last year's national title squad, scored two unanswered goals to hand the defending BIG EAST champions their first loss of the season on Leon Brown's eventual game-winner midway through the second half.

The Golden Eagles grabbed a 1-0 advantage in the ninth minute of action on a great first ball by redshirt junior David Selvaggi who chipped a volley over the top of the Notre Dame back line. Redshirt junior C. Nortey split the Irish center backs, collected the ball and finished from near the penalty area as the MAC Hermann Watch List striker netted his first goal of the season and 20th of his MU career.

Connor Klekota leveled the match at 1-1 in the 28th minute. The Notre Dame midfielder received a through ball on the right channel as MU was looking to make a switch defensively. Klekota dribbled into the box uncontested and his shot skipped past a diving Charlie Lyon.

MU nearly caught a break at the end of the opening half when Irish goalkeeper Patrick Wall charged nearly 30 yards off his line in an attempt to clear a loose ball. Golden Eagles sophomore Nick Parianos, who had come onto the pitch moments earlier for Nortey, beat Wall to the ball, but by the time Parianos got off his shot a pair of Note Dame defenders were able to get back into position and block the long-range, half-chance.

"A key for us would've been to go into halftime up 1-0," said Bennett. "There were spells where we started to get momentum. As the second half started, we tried to make some changes, to become more ourselves going forward, and at times it worked."

As expected, the tempo picked up in the second half and the Golden Eagles, who were out-shot 8-1 in the first 45 minutes of play, started to create more opportunities.

Notre Dame had a goal disallowed in the 55th minute after a short corner set up a nifty combination, but the Irish player who slotted it in inside the far post was in an offside position prompting the assistant referee on the far side to raise his flag.

In the 64th minute, a Marquette free kick from just outside the 18 curled to the top of the 6-yard box by the left-footed Jansson, but Nortey's header was wide left.

A header by Notre Dame captain Andrew O'Malley off a corner kick in the 80th minute ricocheted off the crossbar before being cleared by the MU defense.

With about a minute remaining in regulation, a chip by Selvaggi inside the right corner of the box resulted in a leaping save by Notre Dame goalie Patrick Wall to nix the Golden Eagles final chance at an equalizer.

Wall finished with two saves while Lyon made four stops, including three in the first half. Marquette held a 10-9 margin in the shot column in the second half, but the Irish finished with a 17-11 advantage and doubled MU's three corner kicks.

"It was an up and down game and as the game went on we just couldn't find the final touch to break through," Bennett said. "Notre Dame is a tough nut to crack, and I thought they did a very good, experienced job to thwart our attacks and create some of our own. I also thought Charlie Lyon kept us in it with two very good saves.

"This is by no means a happy ending for us; what it is is a starting point."

Friday's match also marked the collegiate debut of redshirt freshman Alex McBride, who started in midfield, in addition to classmates Daniel Szczepanek and Jack Alberts.

The Golden Eagles wrap up their opening weekend of competition at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic on Sunday, Aug. 31. Kickoff against the 2012 national champion Indiana Hoosiers is set for 1 p.m. Central time (2 p.m. ET) at Armstrong Stadium. Please note that the match time is different than what was listed previously.

Marquette Starters: Lyon; Taylor, Sjoberg, Pothast, Hermsen; Wahl, McBride, Bennett II; Selvaggi, Nortey, Navarro; Subs: Szczepanek, Parianos, Jansson, Alberts

 

 

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