Jackson goal sparks Notre Dame boys soccer team's rally

Thursday, October 6, 2011
Jackson's Clayton Baker pushes past Notre Dame's Logan Buchheit during the first half Wednesday. The Bulldogs defeated the Indians 2-1.

Jackson dominated the first half and finally scored a goal in the opening 16 minutes of the second half.

Notre Dame had created few solid opportunities to that point.

But the Bulldogs were undaunted.

"As soon as they scored, we weren't going to give up," Notre Dame senior Aaron Arnzen said. "We were going to dig down deep."

Dig deep the Bulldogs did, scoring twice in a span of less than three minutes right after Jackson's goal.

Notre Dame's Logan Buchheit, Jackson's Zack Taylor and Notre Dame's Matt Ponder, from left, collide as they try to head the ball during the first half Wednesday. (Kristin Eberts)

That flurry held up as the host Bulldogs claimed a 2-1 win in a battle of local soccer powers Wednesday night.

"It was a great team effort. Everybody contributed and played well," Notre Dame senior Jonathan Lynch said.

Notre Dame (12-5) avenged a penalty-kick shootout loss to Jackson on Sept. 3 at the Notre Dame tournament. The teams will meet for a third time Oct. 19 in Jackson.

"Jackson plays so hard against us. They're tough on us," Notre Dame coach Brad Wittenborn said.

The Indians (12-3) were tough on Notre Dame in the opening half, especially during the first 10 minutes when Jackson came close to scoring several times.

Notre Dame's Carson Bruenderman, left, and Jackson's Keagan Cavanah fight for position on a header during the first half Wednesday at Notre Dame. (Kristin Eberts)

But Notre Dame all-state senior goalkeeper James Holloway was up to the challenge, as is often the case. He made two diving saves in the opening eight minutes.

"We had three or four really good opportunities in the first 10 minutes, and we didn't capitalize," Jackson coach Zack Walton said. "We outplayed them. We did a lot of stuff out there. We didn't finish the opportunities we had."

That's nothing new for Notre Dame opponents, said Wittenborn, after watching Holloway come up with at least a half-dozen highlight-reel saves in the contest.

"He's a fantastic keeper," Wittenborn said. "He does that on a regular basis."

Jackson broke on top with about 24 minutes left after a scoreless first half.

Holloway made a nice save on senior Zack Taylor's hard shot from the right side. But the rebound slipped out of Holloway's hands, and senior Ryan Schlick was there to bury it.

"They had a good goal," Holloway said. "I should have held it, but they were right there to put it in.

"Jackson plays us about better than anybody else. They put so much pressure on us. But we didn't give up, and we played hard."

Notre Dame seemed to come to life right after Jackson's goal. Wittenborn said a tactical adjustment aided the Bulldogs' rally.

"We struggled to get many good looks in the first half," Wittenborn said. "We made an adjustment with positions right after they scored. We dropped Jonathan Lynch from up front to outside midfield. He's played that before. He had more space and he created a lot of things."

Said Lynch: "Coach moved me outside, tried to get me a little more free."

It had an impact because the Bulldogs suddenly created plenty of strong attacks at the Jackson net.

Notre Dame got the equalizer less than three minutes after falling behind.

Arnzen set up for a free kick about 30 yards out. Instead of taking the shot, he tapped the ball a few feet to Lynch, whose deflected blast bounced high into the air and just got over the outstretched arms of Jackson senior keeper Austin Baker.

"We work on set plays," Lynch said. "He [Arnzen] tapped it to me. I was just trying to get it on goal. Fortunately it was deflected and went in."

Notre Dame went ahead when Arnzen scored from in close after a cross from senior Christian Essner less than three minutes later, with about 19 minutes remaining.

Jackson failed to clear the ball before it got to Arnzen.

"We had a couple of mistakes in the back that cost us," Walton said.

Jackson came close to tying things a few times, including with about seven minutes left when the Indians actually deposited a cross into the net.

But an official ruled that the ball had gone over the goal line -- apparently just barely -- right before the cross was delivered.

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