Sept. 21, 2007
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - A goal and an assist from senior Ryan Miller (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) helped propel the third-ranked Notre Dame men's soccer team to a 2-0 BIG EAST victory over Rutgers in front of 6,309 fans at Yurcak Field on Friday night.
Notre Dame (4-1-1, 2-0-0 BE) dominated possession in the first half and out shot Rutgers (1-4-1, 0-1-1 BE) 12-1 during the first period of play. The offensive attack paid off as Miller sent a cross to Dave Donohue (Reading, Mass./Cushing Academy) and the sophomore used a diving header to send the ball into the goal and give the Irish a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute.
The Irish had a couple of near misses that would have made it 2-0 late in the first half. With just over seven minutes remaining, the Scarlet Knight goalkeeper, Matt VanOekel, came off his line and Joseph Lapira (Lake Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic) sent a shot on goal that was kicked out by a Rutgers defender. Donohue had a blast saved with one minute left in the stanza.
"It was a fabulous atmosphere to play in front of 6,400 fans on a beautiful night and on a nice field," said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. "It was a lot of fun, especially because we played well. It's always nice to play like that in front of a big audience and a television audience."
The second Irish goal came in the 65th minute as Lapira played the ball across the field to Miller on the right side and he beat a defender before sending the ball low off the far post and into the back of the net. That was the senior's first goal of the season and the second of his career. The three-point match was a career-high total for Miller.
The Fighting Irish kept pressuring late into the match. Senior forward Kurt Martin (McAllen, Texas/Memorial) nearly connected in the 87th minute as he sent a shot on goal that was saved by a diving VanOekel. Rutgers had a close call with just under eight minutes remaining as Notre Dame's Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./DeSales) made a diving save of his own and a rebound attempt was put wide to the right.
Cahill made four saves on the night to pick up his third win of the season. VanOekel made seven saves in the loss. The Irish out shot the Scarlet Knights 22-10, while also holding a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Notre Dame returns to action with a BIG EAST showdown against Villanova on Sunday. Game time is slated for 12 noon (ET) in Villanova, Pa.
"Now we just have to follow up this performance on Sunday," stated Clark. "We haven't performed well on Sunday so far this year. We hope to get that right this Sunday."
To stay up-to-date on the Notre Dame men's soccer team, log on to und.com or call the official Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000.
#3 Notre Dame (4-1-1, 2-0-0) 1 1 - 2
Rutgers (1-4-1, 0-1-0) 0 0 - 0
Shots: ND 12-10 - 22, RU 1-9 - 10
Corner Kicks: ND 4-2 - 6, RU 0-3 - 3
Saves: ND 4 (Chris Cahill 4), RU 8 (Matt VanOekel 7)
Fouls: ND 3, RU 9
Offsides: ND 4, RU 0