Men look to stretch winning streak to three
By KERRY SMITH
The Irish men's soccer team is looking to capture its third straight win tonight when it hosts the IUPUI Jaguars.
The Irish enter the matchup riding a short but encouraging two game winning streak.
"We're starting to get our confidence back," junior defender Stephen Maio said. "We feel like we've come together and played well as a team in the last couple of games and as long as we can keep the ball rolling we should continue playing this way."
Dominating control of the game and scoring a combined seven goals in the last two contests, the Irish offense has finally come alive. The Irish managed to score only five goals in their first eight outings, but in the last week they increased the tally to 12 goals in 10 games.
Freshman forward Erich Braun emerged as a powerhouse on attack, netting five goals on the season — more than any other Irish player. Braun, who scored both goals in Notre Dame's Big East win over Syracuse on Saturday, is the only repeat goal-scorer for the squad this season.
Senior forward Andrew Aris has continued to be a pivotal player on the Irish front line this season. Utilizing his playmaking capabilities, he leads the team with four assists.
"On offense, our game is really starting to click," Maio said. "The defense has been playing well as a team all year and now it helps that everything is working for us on the field."
The increased potency of the Irish attack has taken some pressure off Notre Dame's backfield.
"Any time you open up the spread you take some of the pressure off," Maio said. "It makes it easier for both the defense and the offense — both sides work to help each other."
IUPUI comes to Notre Dame boasting a 6-3-1 record against the toughest schedule in the team's history. In only their second year as a Division I team in the Mid-Continent conference, the Jaguars have already bested their 1998 record of 4-13-0.
Leading the pack for the Jaguars is junior Thies Hermann at the forward position. Hermann led the squad last season with a team-high seven goals and continues to be a dominating force on offense this year. Considered as one of the top forwards in the league by IUPUI head coach Steve Franklin, Hermann will try to take a dominating role on the field against the Irish.In the backfield, the Jaguar defense is rounded out by sophomore goalkeeper Armando Femia.
Femia has allowed seven goals over 10 games and has come up big with four shutout victories. Billed as one of the top keepers in the conference and possibly the nation by Franklin, Femia has shown he is capable of reading the opponent's attack well.
The Irish will have to be in top form to continue putting the ball in the net against the Jaguars.
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, October 5, 1999