September 14, 2012
LEAVING SPARTANS AT THE GATE
Irish shutout out Michigan State 2-0
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Junior forward Harrison Shipp and freshman midfielder Patrick Hodan each scored as Notre Dame defeated Michigan State 2-0 on Friday evening at Alumni Stadium.
With the win, the Fighting Irish improve to 6-0, while the Spartans fall to 2-4-1.
Notre Dame’s first good chance came in the 18th minute as left back Max Lachowecki placed a header just high of the crossbar from six yards away off a nice pass from central defender Grant Van De Casteele.
Michigan State threatened in the 24th minute when Luke Norman sent his shot from inside the 18 high of the frame.
Shipp put the Irish on the board in the 28th minute with his second goal of the season. The junior sent a laser past the outstretched arms of Spartan goalkeeper Bryce Dobbins and into the upper right of the netting from 17 yards away.
Michigan State’s Domenic Barone hit the near post with a shot from five yards away in the 50th minute.
Just when it looked like the visitors might grab some of the momentum, an Irish corner kick from Dillon Powers was not cleared away by the Spartan defense and Hodan drilled it into the bottom right corner of the net from 19 yards out for his first career goal. The score occurred with exactly 37 minutes left in the match.
Fighting Irish goalkeeper Will Walsh came up with a big save in the 64th minute when he tipped a rocket shot from Jay Chapman over the crossbar. Walsh made two saves on the night to notch his third clean sheet of the season. The senior has a 4-0 record. Dobbins had four saves for Michigan State.
The Irish looked as though they might net a third goal late in the match. Powers had a free kick saved in the 80th minute and another one sail just wide of the post in the 81st minute.
“Tonight was a hard grind,” said Fighting Irish head coach Bobby Clark. “The whole game was tough. Michigan State gave us all we could handle. They knocked the ball forward and picked up second balls. I thought when we had the game in their half we were very, very good and looked very dangerous. It was a good game and a game of contrasting styles.”
Notre Dame held a 17-14 shot advantage in addition to an 8-6 edge in corner kicks.
This is the best start for the Fighting Irish in the 12 seasons of the Clark era. Notre Dame’s last 6-0 start came in 1987 when that Irish squad opened 9-0. It’s the longest win streak for Notre Dame since a seven-game streak in 2006.
“It’s great to have a team that’s winning, but that’s all behind us now,” added Clark. “We have to focus on the present and the present is our next game.”
The Fighting Irish will hit the road and face Michigan on Sunday. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. (ET) at the U-M Soccer Stadium.