Dec. 1, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – A second straight three-point match from Joseph Lapira (Lake Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic) gave No. 10 seed Notre Dame a 2-0 triumph of seventh-seeded Santa Clara in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship Round of 16 on Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium. The victory puts the Fighting Irish into the NCAA quarterfinals for the second straight season. Notre Dame will face either Wake Forest or West Virginia next weekend.
Notre Dame (14-4-5) broke through in the 68th minute as Alex Yoshinaga (San Diego, Calif/Granite Hills) pressured from the right side and dished a pass to Lapira, who put the ball into the back of the net. The senior forward has scored a program-record six goals in NCAA Championship play.
In the 72nd minute, Lapira spearheaded the Irish offense once again as he attacked from the right side and sent a cross to Dave Donohue (Reading, Mass./Cushing Academy) and the sophomore finished the play with his third goal of the season. Lapira leads the team in points (28), goals (9) and assists (10). The reigning M.A.C. Hermann Trophy recipient also notched a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win over Oakland in the NCAA second round last Wednesday.
The Fighting Irish defense negated a couple late attempts from the Broncos to advance to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals for just the second time in program history. Senior goalkeeper Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./DeSales) made five saves to earn his 11th shutout of the season. His four career shutouts in NCAA Tournament action is a Notre Dame record.
“I remember from my days at Stanford that Santa Clara has always been a tough place to go and win,” stated Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “Playing in the BIG EAST, which is a terrific conference, prepares you for a game like this. I have to thank my conference for preparing us very well. This was a great result for us tonight because I really respect Santa Clara soccer.”
Notre Dame nearly connected in the 10th minute as Ryan Miller (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) fed Kurt Martin (McAllen, Texas/Memorial) on the right side and he sent a shot to the far post that missed wide from 10 yards away. The Fighting Irish kept pressuring with blasts from Matt Armstrong (Phoenix, Ariz./North Canyon) and Justin Morrow (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) that sailed high from outside the box. A Jack Traynor (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell North) attempt was sent just wide to the right with 18:20 left in the opening half.
Santa Clara (16-2-4) peppered the net a few times in the opening stages of the first half, yet Cahill was there to make the stops. Santa Clara’s best opportunity of the half occurred when Matt Hatzke worked his way into the box from the left side and put the shot just wide right with 6:08 remaining.
The match was scoreless at the intermission. Santa Clara held an 8-6 advantage in shots during the first half.
Santa Clara upped the pressure early in the second half as Hatzke produced a couple chances. Both attempts came from 20 yards out, the first one went wide to the left and the second shot was saved by Cahill.
The starting goalkeeper for the Broncos, Kevin Klasila, had to be replaced in the 47th minute by Joseph Buttitta after suffering an injury. Klasila made two saves on the night, while Buttitta did not register a save.
Santa Clara totaled 17 shots compared to 10 from Notre Dame, while the Broncos held a 4-2 edge in corner kicks. The loss was just the second of the season for the Broncos and it snapped their 18-game unbeaten streak.
“This was a very hard fought game,” commented Clark. “I thought we did what we wanted to do. In the first half, we got them turned a lot and got the game into their half for long periods of the game. That is what we set out to do. I don’t think we opened nearly as well in the second half. I thought they got into the game in the first 10 minutes of the second half. It took us about 10 or 15 minutes to get going in the second half. Once we got the goals, they had to come out to try and get back into the game and that left them a little vulnerable in the back. We maybe could have had a couple more goals in the last 10 minutes.”
The Fighting Irish will now face the winner of the match between second-seeded Wake Forest and No. 15 seed West Virginia. Those teams will meet on Sunday afternoon in Winston Salem, N.C.
To stay up to date on the Notre Dame men’s soccer team, log onto und.com or call the official Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000.
NCAA Championship Third Round
#10 Notre Dame (14-4-5) 0 2 – 2
#7 Santa Clara (16-2-4) 0 0 – 0
Shots: ND 6-4 – 10, SC 8-9 – 17
Corner Kicks: ND 2-0 – 2, SC 1-3 – 4
Saves: ND 5 (Chris Cahill 5), SC 3 (Kevin Klasila 3, Joseph Buttitta 0)
Fouls: ND 15, SC 8
Offsides: ND 0, SC 1