Early on Sunday morning, the Notre Dame Men’s Club Soccer team departed to Michigan to partake in their second and third games of the season. The first of these matches was against Eastern Michigan University. Having developed a bitter rivalry with EMU over recent years, the Irish showed up to the field ready for a battle. Brian Roddy, senior captain and team mentor, set the tone for the Irish early in the game with a stunning lobbed pass over the EMU defensive line to Mike O’Brien, who zinged the ball into the back of the net with poise. Though the Irish were able to dominate possession and control the ball in the midfield, Eastern Michigan played with their usual aggression for the remainder of the first half. During this time, they were able to tie the game 1-1 on an own goal after an unlucky backward header from backfield warrior Matthew Hickey. However, Brian Roddy’s fiery halftime speech spurred a quick comeback. The Irish reaped the rewards of hard work from offensive duo Mike O’Brien and Cooper Schreibeis. O’Brien was able to pressure the EMU defense into launching a shot into their own goal, and Schreibeis added a third goal to the Irish tally with a definitive finish after rebounding a deflected shot in the box. Blase Capelli missed an open head ball opportunity within the six-yard box that would have sealed the deal for the Irish, but ND held on and achieved a 3-1 victory nonetheless.
The second game of the day for the Irish was played against Western Michigan University on the exact same field. With less than an hour having elapsed since the EMU match, the Irish snacked on bananas and granola bars in between games to fuel themselves. WMU had proven to be a powerful squad due to the heavy involvement of several ex-varsity players in their club. ND was aware that the WMU game would be a great test of their abilities. The whistle blew to start the match, and the Irish were forced to quickly adapt to the high tempo of play that Western Michigan was able to uphold. A series of WMU counterattacks ultimately penetrated the Irish defense, sparking an early WMU goal off of a shot through ND’s outnumbered backfield from within the 18-yard box. Thereafter, hard tackling, foul calls, and injuries plagued the match. Dribbling magician, Rodolfo Feliciani, battled for the ball in the penalty box and slotted it into the back corner of the goal to equalize the game for Notre Dame. However, WMU was able to score the game-winning goal thanks to a bouncing free kick, which snuck over Notre Dame’s entire team for an easy WMU tap-in. Despite the loss, the Irish will use their experiences from Sunday to prepare for next week’s contest against Michigan State.