Nov. 15, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Twelfth-seeded Notre Dame defeated Illinois-Chicago 1-0 in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship on Wednesday evening at a rainy and soggy Alumni Field. Joseph Lapira (Lake Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic) tallied his nation-leading 21st goal in the 44th minute to propel the Irish into the Round of 16 for the second straight season and the fourth time in program history. Notre Dame will battle defending NCAA champion Maryland, the tournament’s No. 5 seed, on Saturday in College Park, Md.
Notre Dame (14-5-2) withstood an early attack from UIC, which produced the game’s first four shots. The Flames (13-3-5) nearly struck in the fourth minute as Baggio Husidic sent a shot off the crossbar. In the seventh minute, Pavle Dundjer put a blast on goal that Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./DeSales) sent over the top of the net.
“This was a terrific game by both teams,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “I felt we controlled the game but they played well so we could never relax. They had some pretty good chances that made your heart skip a little bit. They kept us on edge the whole game.”
The Fighting Irish started to gain some momentum towards the middle portion of the first half as they stepped up their attack. Notre Dame registered several good looks before Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) sent the ball to Lapira and he ran onto it and fired a shot from 12-yards out that found the back of the net.
“It’s a compliment to both teams how well they played in these conditions,” stated Clark. “Joseph (Lapira) came through with another goal. He just makes things happen and he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
Momentum would stay with the Irish in the second half as they out shot the Flames 9-4 in the stanza and 18-9 for the match. Lapira led Notre Dame with three shots. The Fighting Irish also held a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks. Cahill collected three saves on the night to record his 11th shutout of the season. His counterpart Jovan Bubonja made eight stops in the loss.
This marks Notre Dame’s third trip to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 in the past four seasons. The Irish, who have never made it past the Sweet 16, fell to Clemson last season, 1-0.
Notre Dame will be meeting Maryland for just the second time ever on Saturday. The Irish fell to the Terrapins 1-0 in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament in College Park, Md. Game time on Saturday is slated for 6:00 p.m. (ET).
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.
UIC (13-3-5) 0 0 – 0
#12/21 Notre Dame (14-5-2) 1 0 – 1
Shots: UIC 5-4 – 9, ND 9-9- 18
Corner Kicks: UIC 2-0- 2, ND 4-3 – 7
Saves: UIC 8 (Jovan Bubonja 8), ND 3 (Chris Cahill 3)
Fouls: UIC 11, ND 8
Offsides: UIC 0, ND 0