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Clark: 'There's nothing better than dancing in December'
December 8th, 2013 2:29PM

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[NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN STATE: Men] Notre Dame is heading to the Men's College Cup for the first time thanks to a 2-1 win over Michigan State. The No. 3 seed Irish got goals from sophomores Evan Panken and Patrick Hodan -- his fifth straight game with a goal -- to move into Friday's semifinals against New Mexico.
 
“We’re very excited to keep dancing,” Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark said. “There’s nothing better than dancing in December. I’m very happy for this team because they’ve worked so hard. They are a good team and they are a fun team. They deserve this one.”
 
Notre Dame was in control from the start and unlucky when Harrison Shipp first hit the post and then had his shot punched away by Spartan keeper Zach Bennett.
 
Michigan State (14-6-3) registered its first shot of the match in the 26th minute when Tim Kreutz placed the ball through the Irish defense and Irish goalkeeper Patrick Wall scooped it up. Wall had four saves on the night.
 
The Irish took the lead off a corner kick when Panken's first shot was blocked but he then scored from six yards after after Vince Cicciarelli fed him the rebound.
 
“This is what we’ve been working for all year and everyone played a part in this win and it feels so great to be a part of this team,” Panken said. “It was great getting us up early, especially in a big game like this because we knew we needed it. We also knew we’d need more than that to win the game. One wasn’t going to be enough.”
 
In the 48th minute, Hodan made sure of that as scored in his fifth straight game after a great move to elude his defender and tuck his shot past a diving Bennett.
 
The Spartans cut the Irish lead in half on Jay Chapman's header from seven yards out in the 59th minute, and they had their chances to equalize. But keeper Patrick Wall made a big save on Andrew Herr's shot from 20 yards and watched as Tim Kreutz's shot clipped the woodwork.
 
“We opened the second half superbly,” Clark said. “We got the [second] goal and were playing very, very well. We then lost the goal, which kind of came against the run of play. That upset us a little bit, but we got back into it.”

For Clark, it was his seventh trip to the quarterfinals but only his second victory.
 
"I went once with Stanford,” Clark said. “It’s not easy to make that final jump. I was happy when that final whistle blew.”
             
Dec. 7 in Notre Dame, Ind.
Notre Dame 2 Michigan State 1. Goals: Panken (Cicciarelli), Hodan; Chapman (Kreutz) 59.
Notre Dame -- Wall, Lachowecki, O'Malley, Van de Casteele, Mishu, Klekota, Besler, Panken, Hodan, Shipp, Cicciarelli. Sub: Brown.
Michigan State -- Bennett, Cope, Thelan, Keener, McIntosh, Chapman, Herr, Lewis, Alashe, Kreutz, Montague. Subs: Conerty, Rutz, Curtis.
Att.: 1,003.


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