Oct. 1, 2004
Justin McGeeney ended up in the right place at the right time once again. The sophomore forward scored his second-straight game-winning goal over the first-place team in the BIG EAST Friday evening, driving home a shot at 92:11 in the first overtime to provide #14 Notre Dame (6-2-1, 3-1-0) a 1-0 victory over #9 Boston College (6-2-0, 3-2-0) at Alumni Field.
The win gives the Irish solid footing in the BIG EAST Conference standings, as the Irish have now defeated #21 Villanova and #9 Boston College in back-to-back matches. Both teams were first in the conference standings before facing the Fighting Irish. McGeeney, the reigning Co-BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week, provided the game winners in both contests.
“It was a great performance against a very good team,” Irish head coach Bobby Clark said after the contest.
“One of our best performances of the year for sure. This is a very good result for us.”
The game was a typical physical BIG EAST battle that included five yellow cards issued. Both teams played hard to the end and both squads had excellent bursts of team soccer. The Irish, however, looked as though they wore down the Eagles at the end of regulation. Notre Dame dominated possession over the final 20 minutes of the contest.
Looking back to the first period, Boston College out-shot Notre Dame on the scoreboard 11-6, but most of the Eagle’s effort came from far out of the box with little threat to Irish keeper Chris Sawyer.
Sawyer did have to make a brilliant save at 9:40 in the first period, however, when BC’s Uri Magen-David broke through the Irish defense. Sawyer snuffed out his effort after expertly breaking down the angle for Magen-David’s shot.
Notre Dame put together a solid scoring chance 14 minutes into the game when Kevin Goldthwaite, who proved to be one of the best players on the field the entire evening, sent a perfect cross into the box. McGeeney looked to have a bead on the goal but his shot ended up just wide.
Minutes later Ian Etherington sent a long pass to the opposite field and Jack Stewart moved up to surprise the Eagle defense. Stewart’s shot to the opposite post ended just wide once again.
Freshman Alex Yoshinaga keyed another dangerous chance for Notre Dame at 21:00, firing a shot to the high post. BC’s Issey Maholo, who was solid in goal with six saves, just got his fingertips on the ball to deflect it wide.
After the first period break, the teams played close to even over the first 20 minutes of the second half. Slowly but surely, however, Notre Dame started to move the ball efficiently and put together several solid scoring opportunities. Etherington missed on a chip shot from nine yards out that fell just wide after Joe Lapira made a great run through the defense. McGeeney also had a fancy back-heel shot snuffed out by Maholo after another great Irish run through the defense – this one by Goldthwaite.
The game was decided just two minutes into the extra period when McGeeney was dragged down just outside the penalty box on the left hand side of the field. Goldthwaite set up for a left footed free kick, but the Irish surprised Boston College by switching to the right-footed John Stephens for the kick. Stephens sent a great ball into the center of the BC defense which bounced around until it found the foot of McGeeney at the top of the box. Maholo, out of position and in pursuit of the free ball, could only watch the shot hit the back of the net.
Sawyer made two saves to collect his fourth shutout of the season (and second straight). Notre Dame led in corner kicks 9-1 and shots 16-13 (including a 9-2 advantage in the second half). Boston College posted 20 fouls in the contest compared to nine for the home team.
Notre Dame returns to the pitch on Sunday, Oct. 3, at 3:30 p.m. to face Loyola Chicago, as Irish head coach Bobby Clark will be looking to collect his 200th career victory.