Irish end slide in defeating Wildcats
By NOAH AMSTADTER
Assistant Sports Editor
Ending a three-game losing streak, the Irish men's soccer team literally shut the lights out on the Wildcats of Northwestern during their 2-1 win Tuesday night. The Irish put 25 shots on goal during the game which was delayed for 40 minutes in the second half when the lights went out due to a power outage.
"We had a lot of shots," said Irish head coach Chris Apple. "We shot the lights out, so to speak."
The Irish started out the scoring 13:37 into the game, as freshman Justin Detter took a corner kick by junior Matt Rosso and headed into the lower left side of the box, past Wildcat goalkeeper Chris Berlin for the game's first score.
The lead would not last long, as the Wildcat offense soon came alive. Four minutes later, Northwestern senior Jun Kim took a pass from teammate Paul Elkins near the back of the box. Kim let the ball drop off of his chest, kicked the ball before it hit the ground, and watched as it sailed past Irish goalie Greg Tait into the upper-left end of the goal.
The Irish took four more shots in the first half, none of which they were able to get past Berlin's goal-keeping.
"Their defenders saved more balls off the line than I've ever seen," said Apple after the game. "Their goalkeeper made some great saves."
The Irish opened the second half with an aggressive offense. At the 47:40 mark, sophomore Erich Braun drove the ball towards the goal before passing the ball off to the side to freshman Filippo Chillemi. Chellemi quickly found Detter dashing across the far right wing, where Detter took the pass and kicked the ball into the right side of the goal for his second score of the game.
"Fillipo Chelemi played me a great ball across the middle," said Detter. "I just struck it well and it went in."
The Irish continued to create chances throughout the second half. At the 57:00 mark, senior tri-captain Connor LaRose nearly put two headers in the goal, each of which was stopped by a diving Berlin.
Five minutes later, Rosso was fouled in the box, giving the Irish a free kick, which was taken by Braun.
Braun shot the ball to the far right side of the goal, only to see Berlin make another amazing stop.
"He stopped a very well-hit penalty," said Apple. Apple also noted that the Wildcats moved to a defensive focus during the second half. "They put 11 men in the box at times," said Apple. "When a team does that it's hard sometimes to break them down. It's hard to score."
Detter's goals give the freshman three on the season. After a strong start during exhibitions and the season-opening tournament in Las Vegas, Detter has struggled with his shot while shuffling between forward and his natural position in the midfield.
Tuesday night, everything seemed to go right for the spiked-haired blonde from White Lake, Michigan. Detter took eight shots, all of which had a real chance to go in the net. "Justin had a great game," said Apple. "He won every single air ball. He and Griffin [Howard] were great today in the air. He had two beautiful goals."
Detter credits his coach's offensive focus for the improved play. "One of our big focuses on training the last week or so has been having the discipline to put the shots on goal," said Detter.
Despite coming into the game with a winless record this season, Northwestern put forth an impressive effort. Apple has observed that most teams try a little bit harder against the Irish.
"When another team plays Notre Dame, it is the national championship for them," he said. "It makes their season. If Northwestern goes 1-19 and their one win is against Notre Dame, those kids are telling their grandchildren 50 years from now about the day they beat Notre Dame."
"Its just a big game anytime someone plays the Irish," Apple added. "Its good for our guys to have to compete at that level every single day."
The win improves Notre Dame's record to 4-5-1. They travel to Rhode Island to take on Providence at 1 p.m. Saturday.
All Sports Stories for Wednesday, October 4, 2000