Sept. 23, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Junior forward Joseph Lapira (Lake Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic) registered his third multiple-goal match of the season as No. 21 Notre Dame defeated Pittsburgh 3-1 in BIG EAST play on Saturday evening at Alumni Field. Lapira netted two goals on the night to bring his team-leading total to nine on the season. The Fighting Irish improve to 5-3-2 (3-2-0 BIG EAST) on the year with the win, while the Panthers fall to 3-5-2 (2-2-1 BIG EAST).
Sophomore defender Matt Besler (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) put Notre Dame on the board in the 21st minute with the first goal of his collegiate career. Besler chipped a short cross from Justin McGeeney (Ames, Iowa/Ames) into the right side of the net to make it 1-0 in favor of the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame had a few other scoring chances in the first half, including two failed header attempts off of crosses from senior midfielder Ian Etherington (Temecula, Calif./Chaparrel). The Irish would lead 1-0 at the half.
“I thought the opening 30 minutes of the game is as well as we’ve played all season,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “We should have put the game out of reach in the first half. It was a great goal by Besler. It’s not very often that you see a central defender work up into the attack like that. It was an excellent goal.”
Pittsburgh’s Keeyan Young deposited the equalizer in the 48th minute. Notre Dame goalkeeper Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./DeSales) dove to scoop up a loose ball yet could not get a firm grip on it and Young sent it in from 14 yards out. Cahill made one save on the night to pick up his fourth win of the season.
The Irish responded in the 56th minute as Nate Norman (Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams) sent a cross into the box and Lapira slid to get a foot on it and put it into the back of the net and give Notre Dame the lead once again. Norman, a senior midfielder, has a team-high four assists.
Lapira struck again in the 71st minute as he ripped a shot from the top of the 18-yard box and past Panther goalkeeper Andy Jorgensen to make it a 3-1 contest. Jorgensen collected six saves on the night and the Irish out-shot the Panthers 24-9. Notre Dame put the game away just in time as both teams played in a downpour for the final 15 minutes of the match.
“It was nice to see Joe get another two goals,” commented Clark. “The third goal was nice because it put the game out of reach, which should have been done sooner. He is becoming very hard to hold down. Nate Norman was also very good tonight.”
The Fighting Irish will wrap up its three-game homestand with a BIG EAST clash against Marquette on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7:00 p.m.
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.
Pittsburgh (3-5-2, 2-2-1 BE) 0 1 – 1
#21 Notre Dame (5-3-2, 3-2-0 BE) 1 2 – 3
Shots: Pitt 4-5 – 9, ND 11-13 – 24
Corner Kicks: Pitt 0-1 – 1, ND 2-1 – 3
Saves: Pitt 6 (Andy Jorgensen 6), ND 1 (Chris Cahill 1)
Fouls: Pitt 11, ND 12
Offsides: Pitt 2, ND 2