Nov. 6, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Sophomore central defender Grant Van De Casteele (Plano, Texas/Frisco Centennial) headed in the game winner in the 66th minute as the 12th-ranked Notre Dame men's soccer team defeated Marquette in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals on Saturday night at Alumni Stadium. Senior midfielder Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain) also scored for the Fighting Irish, who have compiled a season-best five-game unbeaten streak.
Notre Dame (10-4-4) is the No. 2 seed from the BIG EAST Blue Division, while Marquette (7-8-4) was the sixth seed from the Blue Division. The Irish will face top-ranked Louisville, who is the Red Division's No. 1 seed, in the semifinals on Friday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. This is Notre Dame's fourth straight trip to the BIG EAST semifinals.
The Fighting Irish held a 25-11 advantage in shots, including a 12-2 margin in shots on goal, over the Golden Eagles. Notre Dame had eight corner kicks, while Marquette had six.
"It was an excellent performance by us," stated Irish head coach Bobby Clark. "It's just great to make it back to the final four of the league tournament for the fourth straight year."
Notre Dame opened the scoring in the eighth minute as Brovsky placed a header into the upper left corner of the netting from six yards out. The sequence began with a Brendan King (Naperville, Ill./Edison Academic Center [Fla.]) free kick and after Aaron Maund (Dorchester, Mass./The Roxbury Latin School) headed it, Brovsky deposited his fourth goal of the season.
The Irish nearly grabbed a two-goal advantage in the 22nd minute as a Steven Perry (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness) shot from close range was knocked out by Marquette goalkeeper David Check and the follow-up attempt from Brovsky was sent wide from 22 yards away.
Notre Dame led 1-0 at halftime. The Irish out shot the Golden Eagles 12-5 in the opening period.
"The first half was a little bit chippy," commented Clark. "I thought that upset the rhythm of the game. It became a little bit too physical. When you come to the playoffs, this is sometimes how it goes. It's good to show your guys that when you hold your discipline, like we did in the second half, you can look very good."
Van De Casteele almost scored in the opening minutes of the second half, yet his back-heel flick from five yards out was saved by Check, who had 10 saves on the night. Notre Dame senior goalkeeper Philip Tuttle (Hooksett, N.H./Brewster Academy) had one stop to up his record to 7-2-2 this season.
Marquette's Bryan Ciesiulka deposited the equalizer in the 53rd minute off a pass from Hector Navarro.
The Irish kept the pressure on and it paid off in the 66th minute. A corner kick by King, a junior midfielder, was sent into the box and Van De Casteele headed in his second goal of the season.
Notre Dame continued to attack late into the period and two diving saves by Check were needed to negate shots from King in the 69th minute and Michael Rose (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) in the 73rd minute.
"I thought the second half was superb, even though we lost a goal against the run of play," added Clark. "We played well and connected. I felt we controlled the game from start to finish in the second half. It was a good win."
BIG EAST Championship Quarterfinal
Marquette (7-8-4) 0 1 - 1
Shots: MU 5-6 - 11, ND 12-13 - 25