Nov. 24, 2006
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Notre Dame saw its run in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship come to an end on Friday evening as the 12th-seeded Irish fell to No. 4 seed Virginia, 3-2, in quarterfinal action in front of 5,850 fans at Klockner Stadium. Junior forward Kurt Martin (McAllen, Texas/Memorial) netted both goals for the Fighting Irish, who ended their season with a 15-6-2 mark. Adam Cristman tallied two goals for the Cavaliers as they move on to the NCAA College Cup weekend with a 17-3-1 record.
Notre Dame put early pressure on the Cavaliers before Virginia gained the momentum and threatened the Fighting Irish. Cristman had a good look early as he was one-on-one with Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./DeSales), yet Cahill came out to deflect his shot and negate the scoring chance.
Cristman would later capitalize as the Cavaliers began to put more pressure on the Irish defense midway through the first half. The senior forward took a through ball from Nico Colaluca and sent it past Cahill to make it 1-0 in favor of Virginia in the 25th minute.
The Fighting Irish, who out shot Virginia 13-11 for the match, stepped up their offensive pressure, which nearly resulted in a Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) goal with 12:51 left in the half. Freshman Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) fed Dike and the sophomore sent a blast over the goal from eight yards out.
Virginia struck again in the 35th minute. A Cavalier free kick was sent into the six-yard box and the Irish were unable to clear it and Yannick Reyering deposited a shot to make it a 2-0 contest.
Notre Dame trailed 2-0 at the half.
“I felt they had the better of it in the first half and I think we settled and had the better of it in the second half,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “But, congratulations to them, the result is what’s important and they are going through to the Final Four and I wish them the best of luck. It was a tall order to have to go to Maryland and Virginia and win both games, but I felt we had a team capable of doing that. I think we saw that tonight because we came very close to causing an upset.”
Entering the second half, sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) replaced Cahill and sophomore Jack Traynor (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell North), a starter all season at left back, entered the lineup for the first time after being injured in last week’s win over Maryland.
Junior forward Joseph Lapira (Lake Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic), the nation’s leading scorer, had a couple good looks for the Irish in the second half. With 23:36 left to play, Lapira was one-on-one with Cavalier goalkeeper Ryan Burke on the right side and sent a shot wide left of the goal.
Quinn denied Virginia’s bid to make it a 3-0 contest as he saved a Reyering header from close in. Notre Dame used the new life on the other end of the field as the Irish earned a free kick from the right side of the 18-yard box. Lapira fed Martin on the kick and he placed it in the back of the net to cut the deficit in half.
Virginia answered right back 20 seconds later as Colaluca sent a pass from the right side to Cristman on the left and he notched his second goal of the match to make it 3-1 with just under 20 minutes left in the second half.
The Irish kept battling and it paid off in the 84th minute as they were awarded a penalty kick after a Cavalier foul inside the box. Martin was selected to line up the shot and he delivered, making it 3-2 with the first two-goal game of his collegiate career. Notre Dame had momentum, yet could not deliver the equalizer in the final minutes and the Cavaliers came away with the hard fought victory.
“We tried to really push it in the second half,” stated Clark. “We put Andrew (Quinn) in goal because our starter (Chris Cahill) had been injured and couldn’t kick the ball that well and we also took a chance and put in Jack (Traynor) because we knew this would be our last 45 minutes of soccer if we didn’t take a chance. After we scored our first goal I thought we had it. They rebounded brilliantly and that was a killer goal. I thought we still came back and didn’t drop our heads. A lot of teams could have easily dropped their heads at that point. I was really proud of them.”
Cahill collected two saves on the night, while Quinn had three. Burke made three stops for Virginia. The Irish held a 5-3 edge in corner kicks.
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2006 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship – Quarterfinals
#12 Notre Dame (15-6-2) 0-2 – 2
#4 Virginia (17-3-1) 2-1 – 3