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Bulldogs earn revenge
Himmelberg's goal lifted Notre Dame to a 1-0 victory over Jackson.
JACKSON -- The Notre Dame boys soccer team was so intent on avenging an earlier loss to Jackson, the Bulldogs believe they came out too fired up Thursday night.
"We came out so pumped up ... we went in too hard and we caused a lot of fouls," junior forward Brock Dirnberger said. "We decided to calm it down [in the second half]."
The calmed-down Bulldogs scored the game's lone goal midway through the second half and beat the host Indians 1-0 in a battle of state-ranked squads.
Notre Dame lost to Jackson 1-0 in the Notre Dame SoccerFest on Sept. 1. The squads will meet one more time Oct. 19 at Notre Dame.
"Revenge was sweet," said Notre Dame senior forward Mark Himmelberg, who scored Thursday's lone goal. "In the first half we just got too excited. We played much more like a team in the second half."
Notre Dame, the defending Class 2 state champion and ranked third in the most recent state poll, improved to 12-2-1.
"Hats off to Jackson. They play their hearts out ... both times," Notre Dame coach Brad Wittenborn said.
Jackson, ranked 15th in Class 3, fell to 10-3.
"It was a good game," Jackson coach Zack Walton said. "We battled, we played hard.
"It's two good teams. We look forward to playing them again."
The first half was fairly even, with neither team coming very close to scoring, although both created a few solid chances.
Notre Dame picked up the pace in the second half and had by far the better of the scoring opportunities, including two dangerous chances in the opening six minutes.
Just two minutes into the final period, senior forward Ty Williams sent a header off the crossbar after taking a nice pass from junior midfielder John Unterreiner.
About four minutes later, Jackson keeper Justin Darnell made a dazzling save of Dirnberger's blast.
The Bulldogs finally broke through with 17:24 remaining as Himmelberg ripped a shot past Darnell off a corner kick from Dirnberger, who received an assist on the play.
Dirnberger, although the shortest player on the field -- he said he's 5-foot-4 -- helped created numerous chances for the Bulldogs with his speed and hustle.
"He plays with a lot of energy," Wittenborn said. "He's so quick, and probably the most impressive thing is the way he gets up and wins head balls."
Said Dirnberger: "I don't let anybody push me around."
Ryan Bass earned the shutout in goal for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame won the JV game 1-0 behind a goal from Ethan Huber.