Co-captain Dale Rellas is returning for a fifth-year and will help bolster the Fighting Irish defense once again.

Fighting Irish Downed By No. 10 St. John's, 2-1, In BIG EAST Opener

Sept. 16, 2005

Box Score

Jamaica, N.Y. – Tenth-ranked St. John’s used two goals my Matt Groenwald to defeat No. 16 Notre Dame 2-1 in BIG EAST men’s soccer action Friday evening in front of 1,619 fans at Belson Stadium. Notre Dame registered its only tally in the 83rd minute on an own goal off a cross by Fighting Irish forward Joe Lapira (St. Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic). The contest marked the BIG EAST opener for both teams.

St. John’s (3-1-1, BE 1-0-0) had a couple of chances early and capitalized in the 13th minute when Groenwald collected a long ball from Garry Lewis, beat a defender and sent a low blast from 16 yards out into left side of the net past Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./Saint Francis DeSales).

Notre Dame (3-2-0, BE 0-1-0) had an opportunity in the first half with 11:20 remaining as Irish midfielder John Stephens (Woodbridge, Ill./Benet Academy) got the rebound off a Greg Dalby (Loway, Calif./Loway) free kick but sent it into the hands of St. John’s goalkeeper Jason Landers. That was Landers only save of the night.

St. John’s out-shot the Irish 8-2 in the first half and the Red Storm would lead 1-0 after the first 45 minutes of play.

“I thought it took us a little while to wake up,” stated Fighting Irish head coach Bobby Clark following the match. “This is not an easy place to play and in the first half we struggled to compete. They are a very direct team and we had to win balls in the air or pick up the second balls.”

St. John’s continued to control possession and out-shoot the Irish in the early stages of the second half. The Red Storm made it a 2-0 match in the 54th minute as Jeff Carroll played a nice ball to Groenwald, who shot it just inside the 18-yard box and beat Cahill to the low left corner for his fourth goal of the year.

One of Notre Dame’s best scoring opportunities in the second half came with just under 18 minutes left to play. Stephens played the ball ahead to Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North), who beat a defender and sent the shot wide left as Landers was running towards him.

The Irish would continue to put pressure on the Red Storm late, yet could not capitalize until Lapira sent a cross into the 18-yard box, which was headed in by St. John’s Sam Matthews for an own goal that cut the Red Storm lead to one with 7:30 to play.

Following the goal, Lapira sent a shot just wide right with 6:35 left as the Irish tried for the equalizer. Notre Dame’s final chance came when Ryan Miller (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) booted a free kick that went wide right in the final seconds of the match.

The Red Storm held a decisive 17-5 advantage in shots for the game. Cahill, the reigning BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week, collected two saves on the night.

“We did have some positives,” Clark said. “It may be a wake-up call for us. We just weren’t quite good enough to win. Only two teams have ever came in here and won since it opened a few years ago. But it is possible to win here and I thought we had the team to do it this year. I hope that we have another shot at them in the BIG EAST (tournament). This was a good growing up game for us and it was good to come here.”

The Fighting Irish will return to action on Sunday when they travel to Syracuse to take on the Orange in BIG EAST play. The match is slated to begin at noon South Bend time.

Stay up-to-date on the 2005 Notre Dame men’s soccer season by logging on to or by calling the Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000.

#16 Notre Dame (3-2-0, BE 0-1-0) 0 1 – 1
#10 St. John’s (3-1-1, BE 1-0-0) 1 1 – 2

SJ: Matt Groenwald (Garry Lewis), 12:36; SJ: Matt Groenwald (Jeff Carroll), 53:40, ND: Own goal, 82:30

Shots: ND 2-3 – 5, SJ 8-9 – 17
Corner Kicks: ND 1-3 – 4, SJ 1-2 – 3
Saves: ND 2 (Chris Cahill 2), SJ 1 (Jason Landers 1)
Fouls: ND 4, SJ 15
Offsides: ND 0, SJ 1