The Notre Dame Bulldogs dominated visiting Carbondale in the possession department Tuesday night.
It wasn't until a goal put the Bulldogs up 2-0 late in the second half that they could finally breathe.
Jake Powderly added an insurance goal with 14 minutes left in the game to propel Notre Dame to a 2-0 win in boys soccer.
"You're up, but you want to put that second goal in to give yourself some breathing space," Powderly said about the 1-0 lead.
The sophomore made the most of his opportunity to play varsity, getting a solid foot on a short pass to the middle of the box from fellow sophomore Benjamin Parsons to send the ball into the lower left corner of the net.
The goal finally allowed Notre Dame to put away Carbondale, and Powderly was certainly thankful for the opportunity.
"It's a lot of fun," Powderly said of the experience. "It's hard, but I really enjoy it. It's a challenge I like to go for."
Notre Dame made the most of an early mistake by Carbondale 10 minutes into the game to take a 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs fired a shot on goal that was deflected. The Terriers goalie and defender then had a miscommunication that led to the ball rolling to Christian Westrich at the six-yard box with an empty net.
The senior midfielder slid it in the net.
"Someone took a shot on goal, and I was just coming up behind them and got the follow up and put it in," Westrich said. "It feels good. It gives us a confidence boost. It gets us fired up a little bit more and gets us going."
Notre Dame had several other chances in the first half.
Three minutes after Westrich scored, Luke Mocherman took a long pass from Logan Buchheit down the right sideline. Mocherman beat his man to the end line and played a centering cross to a streaking Matthew Parsons, who rifled a shot off a Carbondale defender.
The contest heated up just before halftime.
Notre Dame nearly made it 2-0 on a cross played to the back post by Benjamin Parsons.
Carson Bruenderman got a head on Parsons' pass, but Carbondale goalkeeper Jamieson Deamer made a diving save.
Two minutes later, Westrich played another ball back post to Buchheit, who deflected it wide left by inches.
"If we just keep plugging away and keep creating chances, we'll get better and better at finishing as the year goes on," Notre Dame coach Brad Wittenborn said. "I'm confident this group can score goals."
Carbondale had its first good chance with just under a minute to play before the half.
Terrier speedster Will Cruz got in behind the Bulldogs defense, but Bruenderman just barely got a foot in front of his shot to deflect it wide.
"Until about 10 minutes to go in the game, I don't remember a shot that they got where we didn't get a foot on the ball," Wittenborn said. "We start four seniors in the back, and I think they are playing extremely well. They're solid defensively, but they're also keeping possession for us and distributing the ball well."
Notre Dame's defense held strong throughout the contest.
"Defense saves us every time," Westrich said. "They are a big thing back there. We need them, and they step up when they need to."
Notre Dame had few early chances in the second half, threatening the Terriers only once in the opening 25 minutes.
Powderly changed all of that with a little deflection in the lower left corner.
"Anytime you're up 1-0 you make a mistake and a team can tie the game," Wittenborn said. "The second goal can help you relax a little bit, so that was huge. We created chances in the first half and the second half and I thought their goalie did a nice job. He had a couple of really good saves I thought."