Sept. 21, 2003
The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team (4-1-2) moved to 1-1 in BIG EAST Conference play with a 1-0 victory over West Virginia (4-3-0, 1-1-0) on Saturday afternoon. The Irish, ranked as high as 13th in the nation, dominated possession for most of the contest and ended up out-shooting the visiting Mountaineers 16-5.
Notre Dame posted its lone goal just over 39 minutes into the contest. Junior defender Kevin Goldthwaite started the action by tossing a long throw-in toward the West Virginia goal box. After a scramble in front of the goal, senior Devon Prescod dribbled the ball to his left, cleared the defense and sent his shot into the opposite corner. West Virginia goalkeeper Nick Noble seemed distracted on the play and the ball crossed the goal line with no save attempt.
Although Prescod’s goal was the only number indicated on the Alumni Field scoreboard, Notre Dame was able to put together several solid scoring chances.
With 13 minutes remaining in the first half, freshman Nate Norman entered the line up and quickly made a run down the right sideline. He sent a perfect cross into the heart of the Mountaineer defense that senior Justin Detter, who seemed seconds away from scoring for much of the afternoon, headed just off the crossbar.
Just a few minutes after Prescod’s goal, freshman Ian Etherington came clear on the left side of the West Virginia defense. He launched a shot from the top of the box that just went wide of the right-top corner of the net.
Notre Dame’s third memorable scoring chance came with 24 minutes remaining in the second half. Senior midfielder Chad Riley, who dominated his side of the field the entire game, sent a beautiful lead ball across the field for Detter. Detter had time to trap, set and fire, but Noble made a diving save to deny the Irish forward.
In some other close calls, Goldthwaite bounced a header off the cross bar on a Riley corner kick at the 65:45 mark. On the same play, Jack Stewart’s rebound shot was blocked while the goalkeeper was out of position. Goldthwaite also managed a beautiful shot from 30 yards out in the second half that seemed destined to reach the net, but glanced off the crossbar.
While Notre Dame’s offense was pursuing its scoring chances, the Irish defense was not challenged during the game. Goalkeeper Chris Sawyer pushed his scoreless minute streak to 348 minutes over the last four matches, saving just one shot against the Mountaineers. Sawyer has posted three consecutive shut outs as well (0-0 vs. Akron, 1-0 vs. #18 Indiana, 1-0 vs. West Virginia).
Notre Dame had four corner kicks in the match, while West Virginia had two. Noble made eight saves for the Mountaineers.
The Irish return to action at Alumni Field on Thursday, Sept. 25, with a non-conference match up with Bradley.