Playing a pair of split squad games, the Fighting Irish were 2-0 victors in the first, 60-minute contest and also earned a 3-0 victory in the second game, a 90-minute contest.
“This was good for us,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “You wouldn’t think that giving up a lot of goals, and not scoring any, would be good for your team, but I do think it was good for us. It helped us identify a lot of things that are not quite good enough. We have a lot of young guys and it was an eye-opener to a lot of the new guys.
“Credit Notre Dame, they were very sharp today. It was good for us, obviously you never like to give up goals but if our guys channel their disappointment in the right way this will have been a very good experience for us.”
The Huskies and Irish traded much of the possession early on in the opening contest before Patrick Hodan gave Notre Dame a lead in the 18th minute with a shot from just inside the 18-yard box, low inside the left post. Notre Dame held a 7-3 edge in shots in the first 30-minute half, NIU freshman goalkeeper Mark Kosobucki made one save.
The Irish controlled much of the play in the second 30 minutes and Hodan doubled the Notre Dame advantage in the 52nd minute with a goal from 12 yards out.
Alex Priede worked his way along the end line to the left of the NIU goal before finding an angle to pass to Hodan who made no mistake in finding the net past junior goalkeeper Miles Herbert. Herbert made three saves in the second half of game one.
In game two, All-Big East Preseason honoree Ryan Finley opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a half volley from near the penalty spot, giving the Fighting Irish an early 1-0 advantage.
Finley found his way onto the score sheet again in the 38th minute as he slotted a shot past Herbert. Dillon Powers played a through ball from the right side into the run of Finley who calmly collected and scored his second goal of the afternoon. Herbert made three saves in the first 45 minutes of the second contest.
NIU came close to cutting the Notre Dame lead in half in the 56th minute. Following a Notre Dame foul, junior Karim Darbaki took a free kick from 25-yards out that seemed destined to find the upper corner of the goal, but Irish goalkeeper Will Walsh made a leaping fingertip save to push the ball over the crossbar.
In the waning moments, the Fighting Irish capped the scoring with an 89th minute goal by Michael Rose. Rose picked up a long ball played from the back and beat senior goalkeeper Jordan Godsey to give Notre Dame a three-goal victory. Godsey played the final 45 minutes of game two and made three saves.
The Huskies will return to exhibition action next Saturday, Aug. 18 when they host DePaul at the NIU Soccer Complex at 4 p.m. The match with the Blue Demons will be the final exhibition of the fall before NIU opens the regular season at third-ranked Creighton on Friday, Aug. 25.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.