Nov. 8, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Following a 2-2 draw, the Notre Dame men's soccer team topped No. 8 USF in a penalty kick shootout, 5-4, in BIG EAST Championship quarterfinal action on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Stadium. The Fighting Irish now will face Louisville in the league semifinals on Friday, Nov. 13 in Morgantown, W. Va.
Notre Dame is the second seed from the league's Blue Division, while USF is the Red Division's third seed.
Notre Dame (10-7-2) hit its first five penalty kicks and USF's Sebastian Thuriere sent the Bulls' final attempt off the crossbar. Connecting on the kicks for the Irish were Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas), Matt Armstrong (Phoenix, Ariz./North Canyon), Dillon Powers (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior), Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) and Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain). Kicking in the first four rounds for USF were Javed Mohammed, Bernardo Anor, Hasani Sinclair and Zak Boggs. Notre Dame senior Philip Tuttle (Hooksett, N.H./Brewster Academy) was in goal for the Irish, while Jeff Attinella manned the frame for the Bulls.
USF (13-3-3) took a 1-0 lead in the third minute as Jorge Mora sent a shot in from 18 yards out. The Bulls claimed a two-goal advantage in the 23rd minute when Thuriere headed in a cross from Kevin Olali.
Notre Dame had a good look with 28:30 left in the first half as Steven Perry (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness) was one-on-one with Attinella, but the Bulls goalkeeper made a diving save. Four minutes later, Thomas sent a shot just wide of the goal off a feed from John Schaefer (Troy, Mich./Detroit Jesuit).
The Fighting Irish converted on a chance in the 43rd minute when Dike, a senior forward, put home his team-leading 10th goal of the season. Thomas, a senior midfielder, sent the pass to Dike to collect his team-best sixth assist of the campaign.
A pivotal moment of the match took place with 1:44 left in the opening half as USF's Francisco Aristeguieta collected his second yellow card of the game and the Bulls were forced to play a man down for the rest of the afternoon. Notre Dame was whistled for 20 fouls and two cards on the day, while USF had 17 fouls and three cards.
USF led 2-1 at the intermission. The Irish out shot the Bulls 6-4 in the opening stanza.
"I think we started very, very slowly but I'm not sure what caused that," said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. "Losing the first goal perked us up, but then they (USF) got the second goal. But we got a goal back before halftime. We had several good chances during the game. Bright (Dike) scored our first goal, but he had two other good looks. If we put some of those away it changes things."
The Bulls nearly regained their two-goal edge early in the second half, yet Thomas cleared a header from Thuriere off the line.
Notre Dame made the most of being a man up as the Irish held a 10-3 shot advantage in the second half. Dike nearly equaled the match in the 52nd minute but he sent his shot just wide of the far post from 18 yards away. The senior forward had another good look with 12:30 remaining in regulation but he placed his shot just wide of the frame with a charging Attinella coming at him.
The Fighting Irish did get the equalizer in the 83rd minute as sophomore defender Aaron Maund (Dorchester, Mass./The Roxbury Latin School) headed a Powers corner kick off the near post and into the back of the net. That was the first career goal for Maund. Powers, a freshman midfielder, has four assists this season.
Notre Dame had the only three shots in the first 10-minute overtime period. Both squads had two shots in the second overtime. The best look for either team in overtime came from the Bulls as Anor placed a shot on goal, but Thomas was there again to clear the ball off the line with 5:26 left in the second overtime.
The Fighting Irish had 21 shots on the day compared to nine from the Bulls. Notre Dame also had seven more corner kicks (10-3) than USF. Tuttle had one save, while Attinella had two stops.
"It was a very exciting game," added Clark. "I think our team really comes to attack. We've hardly been out shot this season. We out shoot and out corner kick every team. I don't think there's a more exciting team anywhere than our team. It doesn't matter who we're playing, we go for it."
Sunday's match will officially be recorded as a tie for both squads. Today marked the first Notre Dame game to go to a penalty kick shootout since the 2005 season. The Irish advanced past Syracuse in penalty kicks, 4-2, during the first round of that season's BIG EAST Championship.
Notre Dame and Louisville, the top seed from the Red Division, will meet in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals at 5:30 p.m. (ET) on Friday, Nov. 13 in Morgantown, W. Va. The match will be aired live on CBS College Sports. The Irish topped the Cardinals, 4-0, earlier this season at Notre Dame on Sept. 25. St. John's (Red Division #1 seed) and Providence (Blue Division #5 seed) will meet in the first semifinal at 3:00 p.m.
BIG EAST Championship Quarterfinal
#8 USF (13-3-3) 2 0 0 0 - 2
Notre Dame wins penalty kick shootout, 5-4
Shots: USF 4-3-0-2 - 9, ND 6-10-3-2 - 21