Aug. 29, 1997
Pitt, Notre Dame Season Opener Ends in a Tie
PITTSBURG - The Notre Dame's soccer team, defending BIG EAST tournament champions, opened up the 1997 season with a 0-0 overtime decision at league foe Pittsburg.
Defense dominated the game in the season opener for both teams. The Irish and the Panthers had a few scoring opportunities particularly in the second half of the contest. Pittsburg outshot the Irish 8-7. In the second half of the game Notre Dame was the only team to produce a shot on goal.
Notre Dame junior goalkeeper Greg Velho, named Most Outstanding Player of the 1996 BIG EAST tournament and one of the top goalkeepers nationally this season, finished the game with four saves. He came up for the Irish two minutes into overtime when he prevented the Panthers from scoring. Velho made two saves on three consecutive Panther shots, two of which were directly in front the goal.
Pittsburg goalkeeper Chris Hanlon also made four saves in the game and came up with a big saves for the Panthers late in the second overtime session when senior Scott Wells drilled a shot from inside the penalty box and in front of the goal following a pass from freshman Reggie McKnight.
Notre Dame played without two of its top players, Ryan Turner and Bill Savarino, who had to sit out the contest for a team violation.
The Irish, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament a year ago, was picked third in the BIG EAST Preseason Poll. Notre Dame was 14-7-2 in 1996 and ended the regular season third in league standings with a 6-3-2 mark.
The Irish return to action on Tuesday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the home opener at Alumni Field when they host second-ranked Indiana. Notre Dame will look to end an eight-game losing streak to their interstate rivals.