Sept. 19, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Despite a strong offensive attack, the third-ranked Notre Dame men’s soccer team was unable to score and had to settle for a 0-0 draw against No. 5 St. John’s in BIG EAST play on Friday night at Alumni Field. The Fighting Irish out shot the Red Storm 22-10 in the match.
Notre Dame (4-1-1, 1-0-1) dominated possession for the majority of the contest and pressured St. John’s throughout. Senior forward Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) had a game-high six shots and four of them were on goal.
St. John’s (5-0-2, 0-0-1) was aided by a strong effort from senior goalkeeper Neal Kitson, who made 11 saves on the night in the BIG EAST opener for the Red Storm.
“I thought it was a very, very strong performance and I thought we were very unlucky not to come out with the victory,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “As always, St. John’s works very, very hard and their goalkeeper had several unbelievable saves. (Bright) Dike could have had several goals tonight. He caused havoc up there.”
The first good look for the Irish on the night came from junior midfielder Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) in the fifth minute as he sent a free kick on goal from 25 yards out and a diving save from Kitson was needed to prevent the score. Thomas also produced a scoring chance late in the half when his shot was saved from close in and freshman Brendan King (Naperville, Ill./Edison Academic Center (Fla.)) could not connect with the rebound shot.
Notre Dame out shot St. John’s 7-3 in the first half.
The second half featured a several near goals from Dike. The first chance came with 41:02 on the clock as he took the ball, sent it on goal and Kitson deflected the ball high over the crossbar. Just over six minutes later, Dike blasted a deep free kick that deflected off the crossbar.
Dike then threatened with 22 minutes remaining as he ripped a shot from 18 yards out that went right into the hands of Kitson. The Red Storm goalkeeper produced two more key saves on shots from Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain) and Dike in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Notre Dame senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) came up with key saves of his own to notch his second shutout of the season. The Red Storm produced a good scoring chance with 5:25 left on the clock in the second half, yet Quinn stopped a Ryan Soroka shot.
The Irish had the best looks in the first 10-minute overtime period as they pressured and received two late corner kicks but could not convert. Notre Dame held a decisive 9-2 advantage in corner kicks for the match.
A diving save by Quinn off a shot from Ale Ivo was needed less than four minutes into the second overtime to keep the match scoreless. A rebound shot from Nelson Becerra was sent high. Quinn matched a career-high mark with five saves on the night.
“(Andrew) Quinn came up with two vital saves,” added Clark. “It was a good team performance. All the players that played were very solid. I think you take that out of it. It was a hard, physical game. Full marks to St. John’s. They’re a tough, resolute team and that’s why they’re undefeated.”
It looked as though the Fighting Irish might grab the `golden goal’ in the 107th minute as Brovsky put a header on frame that Kitson tipped over the bar and the match would end scoreless.
The Irish are back in action with a home BIG EAST match against Syracuse on Sunday, Sept. 21. Game time is slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Field.
#5 St. John’s (5-0-2, BE 0-0-1) 0 0 0 0 – 0
#3 Notre Dame (4-1-1, BE 1-0-1) 0 0 0 0 – 0
Shots: SJ 3-3-1-3 – 10, ND 7-9-3-3 – 22
Corner Kicks: SJ 1-0-1-0 – 2, ND 1-4-2-2 – 9
Saves: SJ 11 (Neal Kitson 11); ND 5 (Andrew Quinn 5)
Fouls: SJ 11, ND 19
Offsides: SJ 1, ND 2