Nov. 30, 2003
The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team (16-3-4) was eliminated from the NCAA Championship by Michigan 1-1 (4-3 penalty kicks) in the third round on Sunday, Nov. 30. It was not the end the Irish were looking for to their sensational season, as the Wolverines were bolstered by their physical play and two great penalty kick stops by goalkeeper Peter Dzubay.
Notre Dame struck first in the contest when Justin Detter collected a long pass from Greg Martin and beat Dzubay at 16:57. Michigan came back under four minutes later when Mike White slipped behind the Irish defense and beat Irish keeper Chris Sawyer at 20:11
The game became a battle of attrition the rest of the way, as Michigan’s aggressive play limited the flow of the contest. The foul total would end up at 33 for the Wolverines, while the Irish were whistled just eight times.
The Irish came out in the second half aggressive, but could not get the go-ahead goal. Notre Dame out shot the Wolverines 9-1 in the second half and the Irish defense quickly snuffed out any scoring chances for the visitors. In the end, the shots would end up at 24-11 in favor of Notre Dame.
After two scoreless overtime periods, the game switched to a best-of-five penalty kick format for the opportunity to advance in the tournament. Filippo Chillemi, Chad Riley and Greg Martin all were successful for Notre Dame, while Kevin Taylor, Adam Bruh and Brian Popeney converted for Michigan.
Devon Prescod followed for Notre Dame and was denied by Dzubay. Michael O’Reilly was next for Michigan, but his attempt sailed over the cross bar.
Again, Dzubay stepped up to stuff an Irish attempt, this time off the foot of Detter. White then put the winning conversion past Sawyer.
Although the Irish were frustrated after the unhappy ending to the season, the fall of 2003 will be long remembered in Notre Dame men’s soccer. The Irish finished the regular season ranked third in the nation, compiled the third-best winning streak in program history (eight games) and captured their second BIG EAST Championship. A record eight players earned all-conference honors this season as well.
“We took another step forward,” head coach Bobby Clark said after the game.
“The first season we lost in the first round, then last year we lost in the second round. Now, we lose in the third round. We are headed in the right direction.
“I am disappointed for the seniors. They have done a lot for this program and will be long remembered for taking Notre Dame soccer to the next level.”