Nov. 23, 2004
A stellar second half effort ended in frustration for the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team (13-3-3), as Ohio State pulled out a 2-1 upset effort in the second round of the NCAA Men’s College Cup on Tuesday night. The Buckeyes (12-6-2) scored on their only shot of the second half, breaking a 1-1 tie at 75:23.
After a sluggish first half that saw the Irish give up their weakest goal of the season to OSU’s Justin Cook at 3:31, Notre Dame came out hitting on all cylinders in the second period. Two close calls on shots from Tony Megna and Nate Norman eventually paved the way for senior Christopher High’s header at 58:30 to tie the game. The header came on a great free kick by senior Kevin Goldthwaite.
“That was as good a second half as we have played all year,” Irish head coach Bobby Clark said after the match.
“Just a superb second half, but unfortunately we gave up that early goal when they caught us a big cold.”
Close to 20 minutes later, while the Irish continued to pound at the Ohio State goal, the Buckeyes broke out for one scoring chance. A Notre Dame foul just five yards outside the penalty box gave the Buckeyes provided a dangerous opportunity for the visitors.
Taylor Korpieski took the kick for Ohio State, but the kick came close to a second before the whistle was blown to restart the play. The Irish defenders, confused whether the play was live, did not clear the ball and Ohio State took advantage. Ryan Kustos eventually drove the ball into the back of the net for his fifth score of the season and the game winner.
“The referee blew his whistle a second after the kick which caused a bit of confusion,” Clark said.
“There was a bit of hesitation for a split second and they got a shot off.”
Jack Stewart, who was literally all over the field and dominating the game for the Irish in what would prove to be his last game in a Notre Dame uniform, came close to tying the game in the late minutes. A great header got past OSU goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr., but for Stewart to get to the ball he was forced to interfere with the keeper. The goal was immediately waved off on a solid call by the referee.
Notre Dame out-shot Ohio State 13-5 in the contest, including 8-1 in the second half. Burse made four saves, while Chris Sawyer posted one for the Irish. The corner kicks were close to even at 4-3 for Ohio State.
OSU moves on to face the winner of the Duke – Old Dominion match on Saturday, Nov. 27.
The outcome was another frustrating end to the season for the Irish, but a final record of 13-3-3 is nothing for the team to be ashamed of.
“It was an excellent season,” Clark said when asked to sum up the 2004 campaign.
“To finish with just three losses against the schedule we play is an accomplishment.”