Braun, Pridmore lead Notre Dame past Providence
By KERRY SMITH
It took less than 4 minutes for the Notre Dame men's soccer team to get on the scoreboard and put away Big East rival Providence Saturday at Alumni Field.
Junior midfielder Dustin Pridmore scored his first of two goals on the night just 3:32 into the contest to propel the Irish to a 4-0 routing of the Friars.
"Their defense was a little shaky," said Pridmore. "We were able to exploit them and get some good goals."
Midfielder Alan Lyskawa and Connor LaRose set up Pridmore's goal when Lyskawa passed the ball from the midfield to the left corner to LaRose. LaRose crossed the ball to Pridmore, who headed the ball past Friar goalkeeper Danny Glynn for the score.
"It felt really good to get the first goal early on," said Pridmore. "It helped to get a good start to the game."
The Irish retained offensive control for most of the first half, outshooting the Friars 9-3, but were unable to add to the lead until the second half.
"We wanted to get the ball wide and behind their defense so we could create some scoring chances," said Pridmore. "We were able to do that and were pretty successful in getting the ball in the goal."
The Friars had a chance to tie the game on a penalty kick just minutes after Pridmore's goal. Officials awarded Friar midfielder Michael Eisenhut a direct shot on goal after he was fouled by Irish defender Matt McNew in the box. But goalkeeper Gerick Short came up big for the Irish, saving Eisenhut's quick shot to the left corner to preserve the lead.
The Irish were quick to strike as the second half began. Taking the Friar defense by surprise, the Irish raced down the field on their first possession and scored again to give the Irish a 2-0 edge.
"The second goal in the second half helped us put them away," said Pridmore. "We came out and scored again before they could get back in the game."
Pridmore and Lyskawa teamed up again for the goal. Lyskawa crossed the ball from the left corner of the field to Pridmore, who booted it past Glynn from five yards out.
The Friars came alive midway through the second half and challenged the Irish lead. Putting more pressure on goal, the Friars peppered the goal with shots and retained control of the ball for several minutes.
Short and the Irish defense put on another strong performance to fend off the Friar attack and secure the lead.
One of the Friars' best chances at scoring came in the contest's 68th minute when Short was taken out of the play by diving to successfully block a shot on goal. The Friars attempted to capitalize on the rebound and looked to boot the ball into the empty net, but the Irish backfield, led by McNew, stepped up and deflected three shots to preserve the shutout.
Freshman forward Erich Braun added a pair of goals less than one minute apart form each other to boost the Irish lead and thwart any hope for a Providence comeback.
Braun's first goal came when he took the ball down the left sideline, dodging the Friar defense to set up a one-on-one situation with Glynn. Striking from eight yards out, Braun sent his shot sailing into the net to up the Irish lead to 3-0.
Braun teamed up with Junior midfielder Reggie McKnight just 53 seconds later for the team's fourth and final score of the night.
Braun's two goals mark his sixth and seventh scores of the season. Braun leads the Irish in goals and has tallied the most total points of all players with 16 on the season.
Pridmore's second goal brings his total number of goals to three on the season. Pridmore trails Braun as the team's second-leading goal scorer and joins a short list of Irish repeat-goal scorers. Braun, Pridmore and senior forward Ryan Cox are the only Irish players to score more than one goal this season.
Irish freshman back-up goalkeeper Greg Tait saw his first action of the season late in the second half. Replacing Short, Tait showed he was not nervous by playing aggressively and defending the net well, coming up with a key save with just minutes left in the game to preserve the shutout.
Notre Dame's 4-0 win over the Providence moves the squad to a 7-4-1 overall and 3-1-1 conference record. The win is the fifth shutout of the season.
The contest with the Friars marked the end of a four-game homestand for the Irish, who made a clean sweep of the series. Notre Dame's four straight wins is the longest consecutive set of wins for the squad in two years.
"We definitely have a lot of confidence in our game," said Pridmore. "We've finally been able to get a lot of goals hopefully that will carry over into our next stretch of games, especially since we have several Big East games coming up."
Notre Dame hits the road on Tuesday when they take on Valpraiso with the aim of increasing its winning streak to five.
All Sports Stories for Monday, October 11, 1999