Oct. 14, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the ninth time this season the No. 8/10 Notre Dame men’s soccer team held an opponent scoreless as the Irish claimed a 3-0 victory over Providence on Saturday night at Alumni Field in a pivotal BIG EAST showdown. Notre Dame and Providence entered the match tied for second place in the conference’s Blue Division. The Fighting Irish, who are now 11-3-2 (7-2-0 BE), have won seven straight matches, the longest stretch for the program since an eight-game streak in 2003. The Friars fall to 10-4-0 (6-3-0 BE) in the loss.
Junior forward Joseph Lapira (Lake Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic) put the Irish on the board in the 32nd minute with his 19th goal of the season. Senior midfielder Nate Norman (Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams) and sophomore midfielder Cory Rellas (Plano, Texas/Plano West) both assisted Lapira on the play to pick up the first of their two assists for the match. Lapira has netted a goal in all seven games of the Irish win streak, including five straight two-goal performances, which was snapped in a 3-0 win over Michigan State on Wednesday night. He leads all NCAA Division I men’s soccer players with 19 goals and 41 points.
“This was a great win for us tonight,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “They are a very physical team and we really had to compete tonight. They make you work very hard and until we got that third goal I didn’t feel the game was in the bag.”
Notre Dame led 1-0 at halftime.
Freshman Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas), who netted the first goal of his Irish career against the Spartans, notched Notre Dame’s second tally of the night on a feed from Rellas in the 57th minute. Rellas has five assists on the season, which trails only Norman’s seven helpers for the team lead.
The capper was put on the match in the 90th minute as Norman sent a ball to Kurt Martin (McAllen, Texas/Memorial) and the junior forward sent a blast into the back of the net from 18 yards out to give the Irish a 3-0 lead with just 29 seconds remaining. It was Martin’s first goal of the season.
Notre Dame out-shot the Providence 14-11 and also collected five more corner kicks (7-2). Senior goalkeeper Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./DeSales) made it a fine senior night for seven Irish players, who were playing in their last regular season home match, as he posted his eighth shutout of the season and his sixth in the last eight games. Cahill made four saves on the night, while Chris Konopka made four stops for the Friars in the loss. The Irish keeper now has a 10-2-1 record this season.
“(Chris) Cahill didn’t have much action, but he made a couple big saves,” commented Clark. “This was a real workman like performance for the team. I thought Cory (Rellas) also played well and it was nice to see Kurt Martin get his first goal of the season.”
The Fighting Irish will embark on a crucial BIG EAST road trip next week to close out the regular season. Notre Dame battles West Virginia on Wednesday (Oct. 18) at 7:00 p.m. before traveling to Connecticut for a Saturday (Oct. 21) showdown at 7:00 p.m. The Mountaineers and Huskies are tied for first in the BIG EAST Blue Division with 22 points apiece, while the Irish stand alone in second place with 21 points.
To stay up to date on the 2006 Notre Dame men’s soccer season, please log on to und.com or call the official Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000.
Providence (10-4-0, BE 6-3-0) 0 0 – 0
#8/10 Notre Dame (11-3-2, BE 7-2-0) 1 2 – 3
Shots: PC 6-5 – 11, ND 6-8 – 14
Corner Kicks: PC 1-1 – 2, ND 4-3 – 7
Saves: PC 4 (Chris Konopka 4), ND 5 (Chris Cahill 4, Team 1)
Fouls: PC 13, ND 20
Offsides: PC 0, ND 0