Oct. 29, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A career-high two goals from sophomore forward Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain) helped the No. 19 Notre Dame men’s soccer team post a 2-1 victory over No. 24 Georgetown on Wednesday afternoon at a windy Alumni Field. The victory clinched at least a share of the BIG EAST Blue Division title for the Irish.
Notre Dame (10-5-2, 6-2-2) can capture the Blue Division championship outright with a win or tie in its regular-season finale at West Virginia on Saturday. The Fighting Irish also can lock up the title if Connecticut ties or loses to Seton Hall on Friday. The Huskies are currently three points behind the Irish in the league standings (20-17). Notre Dame is guaranteed a first-round bye and a quarterfinal home match in the BIG EAST Championship.
This marks the first time that Notre Dame has ever captured back-to-back BIG EAST regular-season titles. The Irish shared the Blue Division trophy with Connecticut last season. Overall, it marks the third regular-season BIG EAST championship for Notre Dame. The first title came in 2004.
“It’s great to get the league title two years in a row,” said Irish head coach Bobby Clark. “Obviously, we are very, very happy with that. We’d like to win it outright now since we tied it with UConn last year. So hopefully this year we can win it outright, that’s obviously our goal. It’ll also be nice to have the bye so we don’t have to play in the first round (of the BIG EAST tournament).”
Georgetown (9-4-3, 4-3-3) managed the first good opportunity of the day with 28:31 left in the first half as Seth C’deBaca worked his way into the 18-yard box and fired a shot on goal that was blocked by Irish defender Matt Besler (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West). Six minutes later, another Hoya attempt was negated as Irish senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) saved a Peter Grasso shot from straight on.
In the 24th minute, Brovsky tallied his first goal of the day when senior Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) played the ball to him from the right and the sophomore made a move and ripped a shot past Hoya goalkeeper Matthew Brutto from the top of the 18-yard box. That was the first goal that Brutto has surrendered in over 763 minutes of play this season.
The Fighting Irish led 1-0 at the intermission.
Grasso netted the equalizer for Georgetown in the 53rd minute. After a foul was whistled on the Irish, the Hoyas were awarded a free kick and C’deBaca played the ball to Grasso, who sent it past Quinn.
It did not take long for the Irish to regain the lead as Brovsky headed home a Jack Traynor (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell North) free kick in the 55th minute. Brovsky now has five goals on the season, which places him in a tie for third on the team. The assist was Traynor’s first of the campaign, while the earlier assist from Dike was his fifth of the season. That ties him with junior Dave Donohue (Reading, Mass./Cushing Academy) for team-high honors in that category. Dike leads the Irish with 25 points (10g, 5a).
“Both goals from Jeb were very good,” commented Clark. “(Bright) Dike and he combined well on the first one and it was a great opportunistic shot from Jeb. Jeb is a very good finisher. He is arguably our most clinical finisher. The second goal was a great free kick from Jack Traynor.”
With 28:12 remaining in regulation, Georgetown’s Corey Zeller put a shot on goal that was saved by a diving Quinn, who landed awkwardly on his shoulder and had to be removed from the match. Junior Philip Tuttle (Hooksett, N.H./Brewster Academy) replaced Quinn in goal for the remainder of the contest. Quinn made four saves, while Tuttle had one stop.
Notre Dame nearly grabbed a two-goal advantage with just under 25 minutes left in the match as Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) was one-on-one with Brutto and the Hoya goalkeeper came off his line and deflected Thomas’ shot just wide of the far post. Brutto made two saves on the day. The Fighting Irish out shot the Hoyas 12-10, while Georgetown held a 4-2 edge in corner kicks.
“I would have liked to see us put the game away,” stated Clark. “But by not putting those opportunities away, we had to play a tough game. It’s important that you learn to play out a game. As we come into tournament time, you’re going to be in positions where you’re going to have to know how to finish games and manage games through to the end. I think we actually did that fairly well today.”
Wednesday’s match, which was a makeup from the one that was originally scheduled for Oct. 5, was the final regular-season home game for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is riding a 12-game unbeaten streak at home, including an 8-0-1 mark at Alumni Field this season.
Notre Dame will conclude the regular season at West Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 1. Game time is slated for 7:00 p.m. (ET) at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
#24 Georgetown (9-4-3, BE 4-3-3) 0 1 – 1
#19 Notre Dame (10-5-2, BE 6-2-2) 1 1 – 2