Sept. 23, 2004
The ninth-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team fell to 4-2-1 on the season and 1-1-0 in the BIG EAST Conference with a 1-0 loss at West Virginia (4-2-1) in Morgantown on Thursday evening. The Irish held the lead on the final statistical sheet once again, outshooting the Mountaineers 15-6 but were unable to answer Jarrod Smith’s goal in the 63rd minute.
“It was a tough game and a disappointing result,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said.
“We did not play to our level, but we also did not play badly. West Virginia gained momentum each minute they kept the game close and put away the one dangerous chance they had.”
The teams played a scoreless first period in which the Irish posted six shots to just three for the home team. After the break, Smith was able to get behind the Notre Dame defense on a goal kick and found himself alone against Irish goalkeeper Chris Sawyer. Sawyer saved the first effort from Smith, but was unable to control the ball. Smith knocked the rebound past the Notre Dame keeper just before the Irish defense was able to recover and clear the ball.
Notre Dame continued to put pressure on WVU’s defense the rest of the way, but were forced to play a man down when sophomore Ian Etherington was issued a red card at 70:38. Etherington has posted what appeared to be the game-winning goal, but was called offsides on a close play and sent out of the game for arguing with the referee.
The Irish were still able to post nine shots in the second half (led by two shots on goal from Etherington) but they could not get anything past Mountaineer goaltender Nick Noble (four saves, including three in the second half).
“I was very proud of our boys over the last 20 minutes,” Clarks said. “They really took the game to West Virginia and played until the last kick of the ball.”
Sawyer made four saves on six of West Virginia’s shots and the Mountaineers were able to manage just one corner kick, compared to four for the Irish.
Notre Dame will continue their road trip on Sunday at 12 noon taking on Villanova in Pennsylvania. The Wildcats improved their hold on first place in the BIG EAST Conference with a victory over Rutgers on Wednesday.