Tuesday's season-opening soccer match between East Hamilton and Notre Dame was an expose of sorts. Both coaches said the purpose of scheduling the tough match so early was to see what areas their teams could improve on.
Notre Dame can attach a "W" to its record along with the information.
The Irish scored two second-half goals and went on to defeat the Hurricanes 3-1 at East Hamilton in a rematch of a Class A/AA sectional match last season. The Hurricanes won that one and went on to a state-semifinal finish.
This one was a physical affair with four yellow cards assessed in the second half, including two given to East Hamilton's Cameron Carter on a disputed call. Notre Dame's Tyler Robertson, who scored the game's final goal, was knocked out of the game after colliding with Steven Sloan halfway through the second half. Sloan was given a yellow card on the play and Robertson didn't return.
Notre Dame coach Jim Schermerhorn was pleased with the outcome.
"We did show that we needed work in some areas," he said. "East Hamilton is a fine ballclub, and we did well in some areas while struggling in others."
Blaise DiStefano had the Irish's first-half goal, on an assist by Brian Delaney. The scoring picked up in the second half, as East Hamilton's Alex McCarney scored on a free kick from about 20 feet out to tie the game.
"That was just a great shot," Hurricanes coach John Millard said. "He put the ball the only place he could to beat both the wall and the keeper."
Notre Dame responded with a pair of goals. They took the lead on a free kick by Kyle Holley when East Hamilton keeper Fielder Dennis collided with an Irish player. On the ensuing kickoff, Robertson intercepted a pass intended for Dennis and chipped the ball in for a goal.
"I'd rather see the problems we have now and have 15 matches left to fix them," Millard said. "Notre Dame took advantage of a couple mistakes and put a couple in the back of the net.
"We needed to face a team like this early to see if we had what it takes psychologically to battle through."