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Men's Soccer Drops 4-1 Decision to No. 3 Notre Dame
Wednesday 08/31/2008  -  Duke Sports Information
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Courtesy: Duke Photography
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Senior Mike Grella finished the opening weekend with three points.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.—Third-ranked Notre Dame tallied a pair of goals in each half to hand Duke a 4-1 loss in the final day of the adidas/IU Credit Union Men’s Soccer Classic at Indiana University. Seniors Mike Grella and Pavelid Castaneda were selected to the all-tournament team for the Blue Devils.

“Obviously we’re disappointed with the score line today,” head coach John Kerr said. “We made some key errors in some crucial times that really put us under the gun and cost us a couple of goals. We spent the rest of the game chasing and trying to come back which is very difficult against a team as organized as Notre Dame.”

The Blue Devils head back to Durham for their home opener on Sept. 5 with an 0-2 record, while Notre Dame improves to 1-1.

The Irish put early pressure on the Blue Devils’ defense and capitalized on an opportunity in the seventh minute. Jeb Brovsky back made a quick pass to an overlapping Justin Morrow on the left flank. Morrow collected the pass wide open and blasted a shot over Duke goalie Brendan Fitzgerald for the 1-0 lead.

Duke came back and got a good chance of its own three minutes later when Christian Ibeagha lofted the ball into the box, but Kyle Bethel’s shot skipped just wide of the net. The Blue Devils continued to run at the Irish, winning corner kicks and controlling the run of play over the next 10 minutes.

Notre Dame regained the momentum again when it earned a free kick from about 35 yards away. Brovsky stepped up to serve the ball into the box, finding the head of Michael Thomas. Thomas got up in the air and flicked the ball on net, but Fitzgerald made a great save to tip the ball over the goal to keep it a 1-0 game.

After some even play by the Irish and Blue Devils, Notre Dame made it a 2-0 game with a low strike from Steven Perry with 9:38 left in the half. Perry collected the ball on the right side of the box and snuck his shot low into the far corner.

The Blue Devils continued to try to generate offense, but the Fighting Irish defense stifled the attack as Notre Dame headed into the break with a 2-0 lead. Duke held an 8-5 advantage on shots and a 4-3 edge in corner kicks.

The Irish came out of the gates fast to start the second half as Bright Dike got in behind the defense and slipped the ball to the far post past Jan Trnka-Amrhein for a 3-0 lead in the 49th minute. Dike got loose again two minutes later to stretch the lead to 4-0.

Duke continued to attack Notre Dame, but was unable to get clear looks in the goal. In the 76th minute, Bethel tried to take his defender on in the box and drew a penalty kick. Grella stepped up to the take the penalty kick. His shot low to the left corner was stopped initially by Andrew Quinn, but Grella knocked home the rebound to make it a 4-1 game.

“At halftime we tried to get back to simplicity and we actually started off the first part of the second half really well,” Kerr said. “We had two or three good moves. We just didn’t execute in the final third, but the build-ups were super. Then we got caught with two very poorly defended goals, which really took the air out of our sails.”

The Blue Devils outshot Notre Dame 17-16 and edged the Irish in corner kicks, 8-6. Fitzgerald and Trnka-Amrhein split time, making two saves apiece, while Quinn had five stops.
 
Duke returns to action on Sept. 5 and Sept. 7, hosting the Nike/Duke Classic at Koskinen Stadium. The Blue Devils will play Harvard and American University, respectively.

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