Sept. 10, 2004
The fourth-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team improved to 3-0-0 on the season with a 2-1 victory over Evansville (1-1-1) in day one action at the 2004 Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament on Friday evening. The Irish dominated much of the play in the contest, eventually breaking through for two goals in the final two minutes (and just 1:10 apart). Evansville added a goal with 19 seconds remaining to make the game seem closer than it really was. Notre Dame ended up with 36 shots in the game, compared to just four for the visitors.
Notre Dame’s first goal was provided by senior D Christopher High, who was highly active in the contest moving up from the Irish central defense. High maneuvered into position on a free kick by junior MF John Stephens. Stephens sent a perfect ball into the heart of the Purple Aces defense and found High darting in from the right side. He headed it past Evansville goalkeeper Corey Southers – who had a spectacular game with 12 saves. It was the first career goal for High and the first career assist for Stephens.
Enjoying the momentum of their breakthrough goal, the Irish took advantage of Evansville pressing forward on a corner kick for a possible game-tying score. Sophomore F Brian Murphy cleared a ball toward classmate and position-mate Justin McGeeney, who had a great first touch and beat the last Evansville defender and Southers for the game winning goal.
The goal turned out to be the game winner because Evansville refused to end the game quietly. Ian McAuley, the most active player on the Purple Aces roster, picked up an errant clear in the 18-yard box and drove the ball past a defenseless Chris Sawyer (one save) for the final goal of the game at 0:19.
“It was a great performance,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said after the contest.
“The first half was out of this world. We moved the ball well and played together. We lost a bit of momentum in the beginning of the second half, possibly because we were frustrated after missing all of the scoring chances.”
The Irish ended up with 10 memorable scoring chances in the contest –
â€¢ At approximately 30:00, Tony Megna saw a great header off a corner kick saved by Southers, who just sent it over the cross bar.
â€¢ At 23:00, Ian Etherington broke through the defense on a great feed from Ryan Miller. Southers made the save on a shot from seven yards out.
â€¢ At 53:00, McGeeney found himself free on the left side on a great give and go from Megna – once again Southers made a diving save.
â€¢ Two minutes later High gave a bit of a preview on his goal later in the contest by sending an Etherington free kick just off the cross bar on a header.
â€¢ With just over 27 minutes remaining, Stephens streaked through the Purple Ace defense and drilled a shot just wide left of the post.
â€¢ Yet another header was saved off the cross bar by Southers at 60:00, this time off the head of Alex Yoshinaga.
â€¢ Ben Crouse, playing very solid in the backline while Kevin Goldthwaite is sidelined with an injury, made his own run at 73:00 and blasted a shot at Southers – who made yet another save.
â€¢ Murphy entered the second half of the game to give Notre Dame an offensive spark with about 14 minutes remaining and did his job – forcing Southers to make two saves on two very solid header opportunities.
â€¢ The final close call came with just under three minutes remaining. McGeeney made a great run and effort at a Nate Norman cross, glancing a header that almost found its way past Southers.
Notre Dame will return to Alumni Field to finish off the Berticelli Memorial Tournament on Sunday, Sept. 11, against CS Fullerton at 1:30 p.m. Fullerton ended up taking #1 Indiana into double overtime before the Hoosiers won the first game of the tournament on Friday evening 2-1. Indiana will face Evansville at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.