Oct. 4, 2006
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Junior forward Joseph Lapira (Lake Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic) registered his fourth straight two-goal match to lead the Notre Dame men’s soccer team to a 2-0 win over Michigan on Wednesday evening at a cold and windy UM Soccer Field. Lapira, who entered the match tied for the national lead in goals scored, now has 15 tallies on the season. Senior goalkeeper Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./DeSales) collected his third consecutive shutout in helping the Irish improve to 8-3-2 on the season. Michigan falls to 5-6-2 with the loss.
In the 16th minute, sophomore midfielder Cory Rellas (Plano, Texas/Plano West) sent a ball across the field to the left flank and Lapira gathered it and sent it in to put the Irish on top. That was the second assist of the season for Rellas.
“This was a great win on the road,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “This is a hard place to win and it’s a great win for the BIG EAST against a team from the Big Ten.”
Forward Perica Marosevic had Michigan’s two best opportunities in the first half. The freshman sent a low-shot just wide of the goal in the 27th minute. He nearly struck again with 13:04 remaining in the half as he sent another low-blast on goal, yet Cahill made a diving save to his right. Cahill made three saves on the night to post his sixth shutout of the season. His three consecutive shutouts is a career-best mark.
The Fighting Irish continued to attack late into the first half and Lapira had a couple near-misses in the final 10 minutes. A Dale Rellas (Plano, Texas/Plano West) cross was put on goal from 10-yards out with a sideways, mid-air kick from Lapira, however Michigan’s Patrick Sperry made one of his three stops on the night. Then with just under four minutes remaining, Lapira sent a low-blast just wide from the top of the 18-yard box.
Notre Dame would lead 1-0 at the end of the first half.
The Irish nearly grabbed a two-goal edge with 36:23 left in the contest as freshman midfielder Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) sent his shot wide left from inside the 18-yard box. Four minutes later, senior forward Justin McGeeney (Ames, Iowa/Ames) directed a header towards the post, yet Sperry made the save.
Lapira, who had just reentered into the match, would put Notre Dame on top 2-0 with a tally in the 63rd minute. Junior midfielder Kurt Martin (McAllen, Texas/Memorial) sent a long ball from midfield that Sperry came out to get, yet he misplayed it and Lapira put a foot on it and sent it into the back of the net.
“We made some great chances and we got behind them very well,” stated Clark. “Our defense played superbly. Our back four was very good. Kurt Martin came into the game and his passing was special. Bright Dike also came in and he did a good job at getting behind them. And Joseph Lapira is in a zone. He scored a couple, but he really could have had a few more.”
On Wednesday, more national accolades were given to Lapira as he was named to the Soccer Times weekly honor roll for his two-goal performances against Marquette and Seton Hall last week. The junior was named the College Soccer News National Player of the Week on Monday. Earlier in the year, Lapira was named the National Player of the Week according to Soccer Times after his four-goal match against Indiana. He is the only player in the nation named to the Soccer Times honor roll twice this season.
The Irish return home this weekend for a BIG EAST showdown with Georgetown on Saturday, Oct. 7. Game time is slated for noon at Alumni Field.
To stay up to date on the 2006 Notre Dame men’s soccer season, please log on to und.com or call the official Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000.
#8/10 Notre Dame (8-3-2) 1-1 – 2
Michigan (5-6-2) 0-0 – 0
Shots: ND 7-5 – 12, UM 8-7 – 15
Corner Kicks: ND 0-2 – 2, UM 0-3 – 3
Saves: ND 3 (Chris Cahill 3), UM 3 (Patrick Sperry 3)
Fouls: ND 13, UM 15
Offsides: ND 4, UM 0