MEN'S SOCCER: Irish to take on Braves
By CHRIS FEDERICO
The men's soccer team heads to Peoria, Ill., tonight for a contest with No. 22 Bradley (4-2-1).
After dropping a 3-0 loss to Rutgers Saturday, the Irish will be looking to get back into the win column before picking up with Big East play again this weekend.
"It's always tough [to lose], especially because we're a young team," co-captain Greg Martin said. "But our heads are up right now. We've got a big game against Bradley, and then this weekend we get back to Big East competition, so we're definitely ready to go and things will be fine."
Notre Dame better be ready to go again, as Bradley brings a very talented team to the field. The Braves return seven starters from a 2000 squad that went 15-7-2 and earned the program's first NCAA tournament bid. They have a very high-powered offense led by a pair of All-American forwards, Gavin Glinton and Hamid Mehreioskouei. The duo combined for 26 goals and 24 assists last season, ranking them third in the nation as a returning scoring duo.
"We're going to have to be very disciplined because they are a very good team," head coach Bobby Clark said. "They're a very blue-collar team in that they are very hard working, so we are going to have to work just as hard to win."
The Irish defense should be well prepared for the Bradley offense, having already faced some of the nation's most potent attacks in the likes of Furman and Clemson.
If there were one area the Irish would want to exploit, it would be the Braves' inexperience at the goalkeeper position. Bradley lost its three-year starter at the end of last season, and the most experienced returnee is fifth-year senior Nate Adams, who has only nine career appearances.
This could benefit Notre Dame's leading scorer, forward Erich Braun, who is very aggressive at taking scoring opportunities when he gets the ball. Braun has taken 17 shots on goal in the team's first five games.
In the only other match-up between these two teams, the Braves came into South Bend last season and handed the Irish a 3-1 loss on the strength of two goals from Glinton. Bradley is expecting its largest soccer crowd ever in anticipation of tonight's rematch.
"This is what it's all about — going on the road during the season against the good teams and getting results," Clark said. "It would be a tremendous step forward for the program if we could get a result out of this."
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, September 25, 2001