Sept. 18, 2005
Syracuse, N.Y. – Notre Dame got on the board early in the second half and held on to defeat Syracuse 1-0 in BIG EAST men’s soccer action on Sunday afternoon at the SU Soccer Stadium. Junior forward Justin McGeeney (Ames, Iowa/Ames) notched his first goal of the season in the 52nd minute with the assist going to John Stephens (Woodbridge, Ill./Benet Academy). Despite a late Orange surge, that goal would prove to be the difference in the match. With the win, the 16th-ranked Fighting Irish move to 4-2-0 on the season and 1-1 in BIG EAST play, while the Orange suffered their first loss and are now 4-1-1 overall and 0-1-1 in conference play.
Notre Dame controlled possession early in the first half and the Irish nearly capitalized in the fourth minute when Stephens sent a free kick into the box to forward Tony Megna (Middleton, Wis./Middleton), who headed the ball just over the crossbar. There was some controversy in the 15th minute as Fighting Irish forward Joe Lapira (St. Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic) dribbled into the 18-yard box and was tripped up yet no call was made.
The Fighting Irish had another close call on a set piece in the 18th minute when a Stephens corner kick was headed by Ben Crouse (Oak Park, Calif./Oak Park) but saved right in front of the net. With 17:42 remaining in the half, the Orange almost found the net on a corner kick as Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./St. Francis DeSales) momentarily lost possession of the ball before snagging it to keep the game scoreless.
The match was knotted 0-0 after the first half, with the Irish holding a 9-5 advantage in shots.
In the second half, it did not take Notre Dame long to snap the scoreless tie as Stephens sent a cross into the box that was deflected out and McGeeney would take the deflection and send the ball to the back left of the net from 10 yards out to put the Irish on top 1-0.
Syracuse nearly equaled the score in the 61st minute when an Orange corner kick was barely cleared to the right of the Notre Dame net by the Irish. The ensuing corner kick was headed just over the crossbar by the Orange.
The Orange would continue to keep the pressure on late into the second half but Notre Dame negated any chances, including a blast from 30 yards out by Syracuse’s Pat Gallagher that was knocked away by Cahill. With 5:50 remaining in the game, the Orange sent a long ball into the box but the header was sent over the crossbar. Just over a minute later, Syracuse did find the back of the net after a collision with Cahill left the ball on the ground, yet the goal was waived off and the Irish would go on to claim their fourth victory of the season.
The Fighting Irish will return home for their next four contests beginning with BIG EAST newcomer Louisville on Friday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Stay up-to-date on the 2005 Notre Dame men’s soccer season by logging on to und.com or by calling the Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000.
#16 Notre Dame (4-2-0, BE 1-1-0) 0 1 – 1
Syracuse (4-1-1, BE 0-1-1) 0 0 – 0