Nov. 18, 2006
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A Joseph Lapira (Lake Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic) goal with 3:04 remaining in the second overtime period propelled 12th-seeded Notre Dame past fifth-seeded Maryland 1-0 and into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship on Saturday evening at Ludwig Field. The Fighting Irish will be making the program’s first appearance in the quarterfinal round when they travel to Virginia to take on the fourth-seeded Cavaliers on Friday (Nov. 24) at 6:00 p.m. (ET). Notre Dame improved to 15-5-2 with the win, while Maryland, the defending NCAA champion, ended its season with a 16-5-1 mark.
Maryland started strong out of the gate by collecting the game’s first four shots. Irish senior goalkeeper Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./DeSales) responded with early deflections and diving saves to keep the game scoreless. The Terrapins held an 8-3 advantage in shots during the first half and a 16-14 edge for the match.
Just as they did in Wednesday evening’s second round win over UIC, the Irish weathered the early storm to gain some momentum. Notre Dame began to mount an attack behind Lapira and good looks from seniors Nate Norman (Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams) and Ryan Miller (Barrington, Ill./Barrington).
Cahill had to leave the contest with 10:38 left in the first half due to an injury and was replaced by Maryland native Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha), a sophomore. Cahill made four saves during his time in the contest, while Quinn collected three as he played the remainder of the match. Maryland’s Chris Seitz had seven saves in the loss.
“I think it was a very good college soccer game,” stated Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “I felt like it could have gone either way. It was a very tough contest. Both teams must take a lot of credit.”
Notre Dame began controlling the possession early in the second half and freshman midfielder Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) put a couple shots on goal that were stopped by Seitz. The defensive struggle would continue as both teams headed into overtime.
Lapira had the best look for either team in the first extra session. Junior midfielder Kurt Martin (McAllen, Texas/Memorial) played the ball to Lapira and he chipped it over Seitz, who came off his line, yet the ball trickled wide right.
The Terrapins nearly ended the match as Stephen King sent a shot off the crossbar with 4:25 left in the second 10-minute overtime session. Notre Dame responded from the Maryland miss as senior Dale Rellas (Plano, Texas/Plano West) sent the ball to Lapira, who made a move on a defender and blasted the ball off the far post and into the back of the net for his nation-leading 22nd goal of the campaign.
“From the second half on I felt very comfortable,” stated Clark. “I thought we maybe dodged a couple bullets in the opening minutes then I felt we settled it.”
This marked the second straight season that the Irish knocked off the defending NCAA champion. Last season, Notre Dame downed Indiana, the two-time defending champion, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, 2-0.
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.
2006 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship – Third Round
#12 Notre Dame (15-5-2) 0-0-0-1 – 1
#5 Maryland (16-5-1) 0-0-0-0 – 0