Oct. 25, 2008
STORRS, Conn. – A `golden goal’ from Cruz Hernandez in the third minute of the first overtime period gave No. 15 Connecticut a 1-0 victory over No. 13 Notre Dame in men’s soccer action on Saturday afternoon at a windy Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. Despite the setback, the Irish remain in first place in the BIG EAST Blue Division with 17 points, while the Huskies are second with 16 points.
The match was originally scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff, yet was moved to a 2:00 p.m. start due to a forecast that featured inclement weather in the Storrs area for Saturday evening.
After 90 minutes of scoreless action, both teams headed to extra time. With 2:13 elapsed in the first 10-minute overtime period, Hernandez headed in a Mike Pezza free kick for the game winner.
Connecticut (8-3-5, 5-3-1) threatened early in the match, yet senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) and the Irish defense held strong. Notre Dame (9-5-2, 5-2-2) had a couple chances later in the half, including a shot from Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) that hit the side of the netting. The Fighting Irish negated a Connecticut attack in the final minutes of the opening period to keep the match scoreless at the intermission.
The Huskies held a 9-2 advantage in shots during the first half along with having a 4-1 edge in corner kicks.
Notre Dame senior Cory Rellas (Plano, Texas/Plano West) saw his first action of the season as he came on to play in the midfield in the 31st minute. Rellas, who played 14 minutes on the day, had missed the first 15 games of the season due to a knee injury.
The Irish upped the offensive pressure in the second half as they out shot the Huskies 8-5 and gained the game’s only three corner kicks of the stanza. Notre Dame nearly broke through in the 63rd minute as a Jack Traynor (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell North) free kick sailed just over the crossbar from 20 yards out. In the 77th minute, Irish forward Tamba Samba (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) ripped a shot that went just wide of the goal.
The Hernandez goal was the only shot for either team in overtime. For the game, Connecticut held a 15-10 advantage in shots, while both teams had four corner kicks. Quinn made two saves, while Josh Ford had three stops for the Huskies.
Prior to today, Notre Dame had gone nine straight games without being held scoreless. It marked just the third time all season that the Fighting Irish have been shutout.
The Irish are 0-2-2 in overtime games this season. Notre Dame played Seton Hall to a 1-1 double-overtime draw on Wednesday.
Notre Dame will wrap up its home portion of the 2008 regular-season ledger with a BIG EAST match against Georgetown on Wednesday, Oct. 29. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Field. Admission to the game is free. The match is a makeup from the contest that was originally scheduled for Oct. 5.
#13 Notre Dame (9-5-2, 5-2-2) 0 0 0 – 0
#15 Connecticut (8-3-5, 5-3-1) 0 0 1 – 1
UC: Cruz Hernandez (Mike Pezza) 92:13
Shots: ND 2-8-0 – 10, UC 9-5-1 – 15
Corner Kicks: ND 1-3-0 – 4, UC 4-0-0 – 4
Saves: ND 2 (Andrew Quinn 2); UC 3 (Josh Ford 3)
Fouls: ND 7, UC 9
Offsides: ND 2, UC 1