Nov. 23, 2001
Scott Buete’s goal with 1:41 left in regulation held up as the game’s only score, as the Maryland men’s soccer team survived a 1-0 game with visiting Notre Dame in first-round NCAA Tournament action Friday night at Ludwig Field.
Notre Dame (12-7-0)-making its first appearance in the NCAAs since 1996-had gained its share of the play during an entertaining second half while totaling four of the game’s six shots on goal. But Maryland (11-8-1) came through in the waning moments to advance to Sunday’s second-round matchup versus Loyola (Md.).
The Irish had the strongest chance in the first half, when reserve midfielder Luke Boughen’s 25-yard rocket slammed off the crossbar just seven minutes before intermission. Maryland finished with a 9-6 overall shot advantage while attempting all six of the game’s corner kicks.
The heartbreaking loss completed a unique week for Notre Dame, which saw 17 members of the 25-player squad afflicted by an apparent stomach virus in the hours leading up to the team’s Wednesday departure on a 10-hour busride (with a Wednesday-night stopover near Youngstown).
“We had most of the team in the infirmary before we left and many of them had not practiced since Saturday, until our short practice here on Thursday night,” said first-year Irish head coach Bobby Clark.
“But we didn’t use it as an excuse and the team just showed great character and determination tonight,” added Clark, who chose to not even mention the illness during the formal postgame press conference.
The goalscoring sequence came just moments after Irish players had deflected a pair of shot attempts near the edge of the penalty box. The ball then settled near the top of the box and Ellis Welker poked a pass to the left side, with Buete sprinting into the open space and sending a hard shot on net.
Notre Dame freshman goalkeeper Chris Sawyer-who had allowed just three goals in the previous 10 games-dove to his right as Buete unleashed a rising 12-yard shot that deflected off Sawyer’s hands and into the center of the net (88:19).
Sawyer had foiled a golden chance for the Terrapins midway through the second half, with the rookie sensation bursting off his line for a point-blank save as Robert Sjolund was venturing into the box.
Notre Dame clearly held its own in the second half, after making some halftime adustments.
“We wanted to sit back during the first half but there was too much happening around our goal and it unsettled us,” said Clark. “The whole second half, we stepped up higher and were able to put some pressure back on them.
“I was really starting to feel very comforable there in the lategoing.”
The physical first half saw the teams combine for 17 fouls, three yellow cards and just one shot on a goal, an early free kick from Irish sophomore midfielder Chad Riley.
Maryland did total five shots and a handful of solid scoring chances in the first 45 minutes but the Irish had the best first-half scoring chance (on three total shots), following a left-flank free kick in the 38th minute. Freshman midfielder Kevin Goldthwaite’s kick deflected off the stomach of Maryland’s Siba Mohammed and the Irish quickly reversed the ball to the right side before playing a pass into the center of the field.
Boughen-who had checked into the game minutes earlier-then ran onto the ball and his second shot of the season nearly found the net, with the freshman’s 25-yard blast clanging off the left side of the crossbar and kicking back into play.
Clark in particular praised the play of the team’s only graduating starters-central defenders Griffin Howard and Andreas Forstner-who helped hold back a potent Maryland offensive group. Howard was dominant throughout the night in the air, repeatedly turning back services into the defensive third.
“This team became very strong this season as it came to grips with the system we were trying to run and believed in it,” said Clark.
“I can’t fault any of our players’ effort tonight and when folks put in their best effort, you can’t ask for more than that. That for me is success.”
NOTRE DAME (12-7-0) 0 0 – 0
MARYLAND (11-8-1) 0 1 – 1
UM 1. Scott Buete 3 (Ellis Welker) 88:19.
Shots: ND 3-3-6, UM 5-4-9.
Corner Kicks: ND 0-0-0, UM 4-2-6.
Saves: ND (Chris Sawyer) 0-1-1, UM (Noah Palmer) 1-3-4.
Fouls: ND 10-7-17, UM 7-9-16.
Offsides: ND 0-2-2, UM 1-1-2.