Nov. 19, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 19 Notre Dame men’s soccer team captured a 2-1 victory over Green Bay in the first round of the NCAA Championship on Thursday evening at Alumni Stadium. The Fighting Irish used goals from Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) and Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain) to post the win and advance to play at Northwestern on Sunday in the second round.
The entertaining match went down to the final seconds as Notre Dame senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) saved a header attempt from Green Bay’s Tony Patterson with three seconds left in the contest.
“They (Green Bay) kept at us right up until the final seconds of the game,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “It was an exciting game. This is the great thing with the NCAA (Tournament). If you lose, you go home. It’s sad for the team that goes home, but it makes it very exciting. There’s no safety net of having another game guaranteed. It’s all or nothing.”
Notre Dame (11-7-4) controlled possession early in the match. The first good look for the Irish came with 25:45 left in the opening stanza as Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) sent the ball up to Steven Perry (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness) and he put his shot into the side of the netting.
Green Bay (14-3-3) did not register its first shot until the 22:40 mark of the first period. The Irish out shot the Phoenix 7-4 in the first half, yet Green Bay held an 18-16 shot advantage for the match.
The Irish collected their first shot on goal with 20:30 left in the first half as Perry sent the ball to Dillon Powers (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior) and the freshman placed a shot on frame from 15 yards out that was saved by Green Bay goalkeeper Ryan Wehking. Wehking had five saves on the night, while Quinn had four saves for the Irish.
Notre Dame’s pressure paid off in the 29th minute as Powers worked his way near the end line on the right side and crossed the ball in and Dike placed the ball into the lower left corner. Dike, the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year, has a team-best 11 goals this season.
Dike had another look with just under 10 minutes left in the first half, yet the Phoenix came through with a team save. Wehking saved a Brovsky attempt with 3:08 showing on the clock in the stanza. The Fighting Irish led 1-0 at the intermission.
“I thought we started the game superbly well,” stated Clark. “The first 20 minutes were as well as we’ve played. We moved the ball and the field was terrific. It was a fast field. We got the goal and then I felt we kind of dropped a touch after that.”
The back-and-forth second half featured several scoring chances for both teams.
Brendan King (Naperville, Ill./Edison Academic Center (Fla.)) looked to put the Irish up by two with 26:06 left in regulation as he took a feed from Dike and after a run, sent a shot on goal from inside the 18-yard box that was saved. Two minutes later, Thomas placed a far shot on frame that was stopped by Wehking.
The Fighting Irish did break through with their second goal in the 67th minute as Justin Morrow (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) passed the ball to Brovsky from the left side and the junior deposited his fourth goal of the season.
Notre Dame could not enjoy the cushion for long as Green Bay answered back less than two minutes later on a goal from Tony Walls. JC Banks picked up the assist on the play.
The Phoenix nearly netted the equalizer a minute later but Quinn saved a shot from Scott Raymonds that came from 16 yards out. On the other end of the pitch, Thomas almost put the Irish back up by two, yet his shot grazed off the crossbar.
A flurry from Green Bay with just over 14 minutes left in the match saw the Phoenix fire three shots from inside the 18-yard box. The Irish stopped the first two shots with team saves, while the final attempt went wide of the near post. With just under five minutes left on the clock, Banks received the ball and settled it before sending a shot off the near post.
Perry looked as though he was going to seal the victory with 3:30 left as he took a long punt from Quinn and worked his way into the 18-yard box, but he sent his shot off the crossbar. Brovksy had a look a minute later when he was one-on-one with Wehking, yet his shot went right into the hands of the Phoenix goalkeeper.
The game’s final sequence began with a frantic corner kick attempt from the Phoenix and Quinn saved Patterson’s header. Green Bay had two more corner kicks (5-3) than the Irish on the night.
“(Steven) Perry had a couple chances to ice it and so did Jeb Brovsky,” added Clark. “If we put those away, we kill the game and we go home happy. I didn’t feel like we had control of the game in the second half. I felt we were in control in the first half. They (Green Bay) certainly put us under some pressure in the second half. They’re a good team. Full marks to them. It’s not surprising that they’ve had a great season.”
Notre Dame will face Northwestern on Sunday, Nov. 22 in the second round of the NCAA Championship. Game time is slated for 1:00 p.m. (CT). Northwestern is the No. 9 seed in the tournament, while the Irish are not seeded. The Wildcats topped the Irish, 2-1, in the second round of last season’s NCAA Tournament.
NCAA Championship First Round
Alumni Stadium â€¢ Notre Dame, Ind.
Nov. 19, 2009
Green Bay (14-3-3) 0 1 – 1
#19 Notre Dame (11-7-4) 1 1 – 2
Shots: GB 4-14 – 18, ND 7-9 – 16
Corner Kicks: GB 1-4 – 5, ND 1-2 – 3
Saves: GB 6 (Ryan Wehking – 90:00 – 2 ga – 5 svs – L; 1 team save); ND 6 (Andrew Quinn – 90:00 – 1 ga – 4 svs. – W; 2 team saves)
Fouls: GB 8, ND 12
Offsides: GB 1, ND 4