Sept. 26, 2004
The ninth-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team (5-2-1, 2-1-0) finished its first BIG EAST Conference road trip with a 1-1 record after getting a big 1-0 league win at #21 Villanova (5-1-1, 3-1-0) on Sunday afternoon. Villanova, off to its best start since it joined the BIG EAST, saw its five-match win streak halted when Justin McGeeney scored unassisted just two minutes into the second half.
“It was a great performance by the team,” Irish head coach Bobby Clark said after the contest.
“The loss on Thursday, while disappointing, might have provided us with an example of what happens when we do not come out focused and disciplined as a team. I think this was one of our best overall performances this season.”
The win gives the Irish a solid finish to a conference road trip which started with a 1-0 loss at West Virginia on Thursday, Sept. 23. Notre Dame has now opened BIG EAST Conference play with a 2-1-0 record in the last three seasons.
After both teams displayed their defensive prowess in the first half, led by Notre Dame holding the Wildcats without a shot in the first 45 minutes, the Irish struck early in the second period.
McGeeney collected a ball in the Villanova zone that the Wildcat defenders were unable to clear. The sophomore forward dribble three times and drilled a low shot past Villanova goalkeeper Craig Bald. The goal was McGeeney’s team-high third of the season.
Notre Dame’s defense stepped up its play on Sunday, bolstered by the return of all-star defender Kevin Goldthwaite. Sidelines the first seven games of the season, Goldthwaite returned to his traditional left back position and played all but five minutes in the contest.
Goldthwaite, along with senior Jack Stewart, senior Christopher High, sophomore Ryan Miller and junior Ben Crouse shut down most of the Villanova attack, asking goalkeeper Chris Sawyer to make just one save in the contest.
Notre Dame returns to the pitch on Friday, Oct. 1, to face another tough contest with BIG EAST opponent Boston College at 7:30 p.m.