Nov. 15, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - No. 14 St. John's topped No. 25 Notre Dame in a penalty kick shootout, 5-3, in the title game of the men's soccer BIG EAST Championship on Sunday afternoon at a warm and sunny Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The match was officially a tie following a scoreless draw through regulation and two overtime periods.
Notre Dame (10-7-4) was the tournament's second seed from the league's Blue Division, while St. John's (9-2-9) was the No. 2 seed from the Red Division.
All three of Notre Dame's 2009 BIG EAST Championship matches went to a penalty kick shootout. The Irish bested USF in penalty kicks, 5-4, in the quarterfinals and then defeated Louisville in a shootout, 4-3, in the semifinals.
St. John's hit all five of its penalty kicks, while Notre Dame connected on three of its four attempts. Sending in kicks for the Irish were Matt Armstrong (Phoenix, Ariz.), Dillon Powers (Plano, Texas) and Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla.).
"I think we were playing very hard to try and win the game," said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. "We were pushing. I was very proud of the guys because we were coming off a very hard game on Friday night against Louisville. That was another overtime game. I thought our fitness today was very good. St. John's is a very good team. They are very disciplined and well coached."
The first shot on goal of the day came less than three minutes into the match as St. John's Walter Hines put one on frame that was saved by Notre Dame's Andrew Quinn (Silver Spring, Md.). The first Irish shot on goal came with 36:24 showing in the first half as a Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan.) attempt was saved by Derby Carrillo.
Notre Dame's Dave Donohue (Reading, Mass.) sent a shot just wide left with 18:53 on the clock after St. John's headed out an Irish corner kick. The Fighting Irish had the game's only three corner kicks in the first half. For the match, Notre Dame had two more corner kicks (7-5) than St. John's
The Red Storm's David Reed sent a low blast just wide of the far post from inside the 18-yard box with just under 16 minutes remaining in the opening half. St. John's out shot Notre Dame 5-4 in the first half, yet the Irish held a 15-9 advantage for the entire match.
Dike's first shot of the match came after a St. John's turnover and the senior forward fired the ball into the side netting from 18 yards out with 14:46 left in the opening period. Dike put another shot just wide to the right with 6:10 remaining in the first half.
The first scoring opportunity for either team in the second half came with 34:28 showing on the clock as Dike headed a Justin Morrow (Cleveland, Ohio) cross off the near post.
Notre Dame threatened again with 14 minutes left in the second half when a Powers corner kick was headed by Bilal Duckett (Peachtree City, Ga.) and Carrillo punched the ball over the crossbar.
St. John's had a look on the other end of the pitch but a charging Quinn deflected a shot from Sverre Wegge Gundhus. Quinn had three saves on the day, while Carrillo had four stops.
Notre Dame's last good look of regulation was a Dike blast from 16 yards out that was saved by Carrillo with 1:34 left. The Irish negated two set piece chances from the Red Storm in the final moments of the second half.
The Fighting Irish controlled possession in the first 10-minute overtime period. The first chance of overtime came two minutes in on a Dike header that was sent wide of the near post off a cross from Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo.). Two minutes later, Notre Dame's Josh Thiermann (Stoughton, Wis.) sent a 20-yard shot high of the crossbar. Those were the only two shots for either team in the first overtime. Notre Dame also had the only two shots of the second overtime.
Brovsky, a junior midfielder, Thomas, a senior midfielder, and Aaron Maund (Dorchester, Mass.), a sophomore defender, were named to the BIG EAST Championship all-tournament team.
"It would have been nice to win the trophy today, but the main prize is the NCAA Tournament," added Clark. "The runner-up finish in the league in the regular season and in the tournament will fire this team up for hopefully a deep run in the NCAA Tournament."
The NCAA Men's Soccer Championship selection show will take place on Monday, Nov. 16 between 5:30-6:00 p.m. (ET) (approximately) on ESPN News. Immediately following the announcement, the bracket will be available on www.ncaa.com.
BIG EAST Championship Final
St. John's wins penalty kick shootout 5-3