Sept. 25, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team dropped a 2-1 decision to BIG EAST foe Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon at a rainy Alumni Field. The Fighting Irish fell behind 2-0 in the second half before a late surge produced a goal but the Irish could not net the equalizer. With the win, Cincinnati improves to an impressive 5-2-1 overall and 4-0-1 in BIG EAST play, while Notre Dame is now 5-3-0 overall and 2-2-0 in conference play. Junior midfielder Ian Etherington (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral) scored the lone tally for the Irish in the 69th minute.
“It’s disappointing but you have to try and look at the positives,” stated Irish head coach Bobby Clark following the game. “We showed a lot of character by coming back once we were down by two goals and we carried the last portion of the game.”
A scoreless first half did not come without some chances for both teams. Cincinnati out-shot the Irish 7-3 in the opening period. The Bearcats blasted some long shots that went either over or wide of the net. With 13:55 left in the half, Cincinnati’s Omar Cummings sent a point-blank shot on goal but Irish keeper Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./DeSales) collected the save to preserve the scoreless match.
The Irish responded on the other end of the field just over a minute later as Joe Lapira (Lake Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic) shook off a defender and sent the shot just wide right. Notre Dame continued to threaten around the 35th minute but could not convert.
Cincinnati did find the back of the net less than five minutes into the second half. Forward Kenny Anaba collected a thru-ball from Matt Hayden and dribbled past a couple Irish defenders and sent the shot past Cahill to put the Bearcats up 1-0.
Notre Dame had a couple chances for the equalizer in the 58th minute as Nate Norman’s (Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams) corner kick was momentarily dropped by Bearcat goalkeeper Mike Vessells, yet recovered in front of the net. Shortly after that, midfielder Alex Yoshinaga (San Diego, Calif./Granite Hills) sent a header to the far post that was punched out by Vessells.
A set piece led to Cincinnati’s second goal of the match, which came in the 64th minute. Midfielder Landry Gray took the corner kick from the right side and defender Amir Ikner headed it into the net for a 2-0 Bearcat advantage.
“You have to give credit to Cincinnati,” Clark said. “They looked like a dangerous team going in and they were. They have a couple good forwards, who are quick to punish and they did that.”
As the rain started to pick up, so did the Fighting Irish attack. Notre Dame chipped away at the Bearcat lead with just over 20 minutes remaining in the match. Norman sent a corner kick to Ryan Miller (Barrington, Ill./Barrington), who lobbed the ball in from 25-yards out and Etherington got a head on it to direct it into the top left corner.
The goal was the second of the weekend for Etherington, who also notched his first of the season versus Louisville on Friday. The assist gave Norman his team-leading sixth point of the campaign.
The Irish continued to pressure the Bearcats late in the second half and would narrow the shot differential by totaling 13 in the second half alone but none resulted in the equalizer. For the game, Cincinnati out-shot the Irish 17-16.
“We dug ourselves a big hole,” Clark commented. “A two-goal deficit is big but we almost overcame it. Joe (Lapira) almost had a chance there at the end but he slipped. I think if we would have tied it, we would have gone on to win. But you can’t blame the conditions because it was the same for both teams. We’re just a little bit disappointed because I didn’t feel that we deserved to lose.”
All three of Notre Dame’s losses have been decided by a single goal. Seven of Notre Dame’s eight matches so far this season have been decided by one goal. A 4-1win over No. 7 SMU in the season-opener was the only contest not decided by the slimmest of margins.
Notre Dame will step away from BIG EAST play for a Wednesday evening match-up versus Bradley at 7:00 p.m. at Alumni Field. Stay up-to-date on the Notre Dame men’s soccer team by logging on to und.com or by calling the Notre Dame Athletics Hotline at (574) 631-3000.
Cincinnati 0 2 – 2
#18 Notre Dame 0 1 – 1
Shots: UC 7-10 – 17, ND 3-13 – 16
Corner Kicks: UC 1-3 – 4, ND 3-7 – 10
Saves: UC 6 (Mike Vessells 6), ND 6 (Chris Cahill 6)
Fouls: UC 10, ND 6
Offsides: UC 1, ND 5