Notre Dame 2, Indiana 0

Nov. 22, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The two-time defending national champion and No. 3 seeded Indiana men's soccer team dropped a heartbreaking second round NCAA Tournament match to Notre Dame, 2-0. The Hoosiers and Irish battled each other and the dropping mercury as the temperature dipped near freezing for the entire game. IU closes 2005 with a 13-3-6 record while Notre Dame improves to 12-7-3.

The Hoosiers opened the match with a fury as in the first six minutes IU pounded four shots at the Notre Dame net, but were unable to tally a goal. The Hoosiers outshot the Irish 9-6 en route to a scoreless draw at the break.

In the fourth minute, freshman forward Lee Nguyen took a threaded pass from junior midfielder Josh Tudela on the left side. The 2005 Big Ten Freshman of the Year had a pair of touches placing the ball on his right foot. The Richardson, Texas native fired a shot toward the far corner, but Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill denied the shot for a corner kick.

On the ensuing corner, Nguyen gathered the ball and fired a shot toward Cahill, but Cahill was used all of his 6-6 frame to push the ball wide of the net.

Freshman Brad Ring had a pair of opportunities in the sixth minute as IU continued to pour on the pressure. Ring corralled a corner kick at the top of the 18 and fired a low shot, but the defense blocked the shot.

As the Irish gained possession after the blocked shot, Ring pick-pocketed the Irish defender and dribbled up the left side of the 18 toward the six where he sent a cross through two defenders in the six. Ambersley was able to one touch the pass, but pushed the ball just wide of the right post.

The Hoosiers relented slightly, but had another strong opportunity in the 20th minute. Junior forward Jacob Peterson gathered the ball at the midfield stripe. The Portage, Mich., native got on a streaking run through the offensive third and fired a shot from the top of the 20 yards out only to see the attempt go wide of the far post.

Notre Dame's first chance came in the 25th minute on a free kick by junior midfielder Greg Dalby from 22 yards out. The ball was sent from left to right in the 18-yard box where senior back Ben Crouse got on the end of the ball with a header across the goal mouth, but sophomore goalkeeper Chris Munroe made the diving save.

The Hoosiers continued to pressure in the 27th minute when Nguyen dished to a streaking Peterson on the right side of the offensive third. Peterson dribbled and fired a shot from 18 yards out but the ball sailed high over the crossbar.

The 35th minute saw junior midfielder John Michael Hayden dish off to Peterson who back heeled a pass to senior midfielder Brian Plotkin at the top of the 18. The Lisle, Ill., native and 2005 Big Ten Player of the Year fired a shot, but, again, Cahill was there to deny the chance.

One minute later senior midfielder Jordan Chirico found Plotkin cutting toward the goal. Plotkin passed off to Nguyen who was cutting down the right side of the 18. Nguyen switched feet and fired a shot, but it sailed high over the bar.

The second stanza saw the Hoosiers continue to pressure, but was a more defensive-minded half. In the 54th minute, IU thought it had a tally when Nguyen bent an inswinging corner toward the goalmouth. Sophomore back Greg Stevning, who was playing through illness, got a head on the ball and had Cahill beaten at the far post. However, the Irish defense was able to clear the ball off the line rendering it harmless.

A minute and a half later on the counterattack, Notre Dame posted the game's first marker. Junior midfielder Ian Etherington sent a cross from the right side to the top of six-yard box where senior forward Justin McGeeney got a head on the ball pushing it to the far post into the net. It was his fifth marker of the season.

IU tried to answer in the 60th as Plotkin had a solid opportunity for the equalizer. Nguyen took a pass from Peterson off a throw-in and juked the defender. He crossed the ball to the far post where Plotkin knocked a header toward the post, but Cahill was there to deny the chance.

The 61:43 mark saw the game's final goal as sophomore forward Joe Lapira took a long pass from Crouse in the middle of the offensive third. Lapira chipped a hopeful ball over the outstretched arms of Munroe. The ball carried toward net. Sophomore back Greg Stevning tried to keep the ball out of the net by bicycling the ball backward, but it crossed the line before he hit it into the side netting.

The Hoosiers had some help late as Lapira, in the 81st minute, gathered a failed clearance at the top of the six. He fired a shot over the arms of Munroe, but the post denied a second tally.

Indiana tried to put on more pressure with Notre Dame sinking back defending a two-goal lead. In the 86th minute, Nguyen sent in a corner kick to a jam-packed box. The ball passed Cahill and bounced a couple of times before Peterson got on the end of it. The shot was heading toward net, but an Irish defender cleared it off the line to deny the scoring chance.

The loss was the Hoosiers' first during the NCAA Tournament at Armstrong Stadium since 1995. During that season, IU fell, 1-0, to Butler. The Fighting Irish will face Clemson in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 27.

Indiana Quotes

Indiana head coach Mike Freitag

Opening statement:

MF: "To start off, I am sad. I love my team and I love the way they play. Soccer is an honest game. It is a cruel game at times, but an honest one. I thought tonight we played a very good opponent who worked hard. I thought my team played well, but not well enough to win. Especially this group of seniors, I feel sad for them. They've done some things a lot of guys have never done. They've been to championships, and it's a shame we won't be fighting for it again this year. This is a talented group of players. We will regroup and use this hurt feeling to refuel our commitment to excellence. We are looking forward to getting back to work when we can."

On missed chances tonight:

MF: "You keep hoping that those missed chances wouldn't come back and haunt us and they did. Tonight, we created more good scoring opportunities than we did when we beat them 3-0 at their place. I thought their goalie was outstanding. I thought we didn't finish well."

On Notre Dame:

MF: "I thought they were more positive than when we last played them. Tonight, they were a little more aggressive than they were last time, and I expected that. I know Bobby Clark felt after the game in South Bend that they were a little tentative. Psychologically, you worry about beating a team 3-0 and letting your guard down, but I don't think that was the case. I thought early in the game, we had a couple great chances that we didn't finish. If just one of those went in, it's a completely different game. I give them credit. I think they made their own luck."

Senior forward Mike Ambersley

On the loss:

MA: "It's tough ending your Hoosier career with a loss. I've had some of the greatest moments in my soccer career here. I owe all of that to Coach Freitag and Coach Yeagley. I've had a great time playing with this group of seniors. They are some of my best friends and I will keep those friends forever. Some things you do on the field are great, but I will remember more of the things I did off the field with these guys."

Sophomore back Greg Stevning:

On the goals:

GS: "I think I got lost in transition. I thought Julian was going to have it, but the ball sailed right over him. It caught us off guard. On the second goal, I was doing everything I could to try and get it out. My momentum was going forward."

Notre Dame Quotes

Notre Dame Head Coach Bobby Clark

On this being a statement game for Notre Dame:

BC: "I think it is. In all fairness, over the five years I have been here we have beaten them three times. We have beaten them before, but that was in the regular season. It is nice to make a statement in a game that really meant a lot to both teams. They are a terrific team and we take a lot of pride in coming here to play. It takes two teams to make it a game and I thought it was a very exciting game to watch and be a part of."

On being ready for this game:

BC: "We were ready to come out and play, especially after the way they came to our place and gave us a beating. A few weeks ago they gave us a comprehensive beating. It was nice to come back to their place to try to even the score. Nobody likes to get beaten and I blame the coaching staff for the first game because we didn't get it right. We came out with a different attitude and sometimes the ball bounces your way."

Junior Midfielder Greg Dalby

On IU missing some close shots early in the game:

GD: "If they would have put one away early it would have taken some wind out of our sails. We knew that if we could put that behind us and weather the tough times throughout the game we felt like we had a shot. They had some balls on our half of the field and had some counter attacks that were real dangerous. Even though we had a game already we still had some nerves coming into this game. It was enormous not giving up an early goal because we talked about giving up an early goal and what that can do to a team."

Junior Forward/Midfielder Justin McGeeney

On scoring the first goal:

JM: "I came into halftime and told my teammates, especially the guys in back, if they can hold on we can win this game. It is the first time I looked across and saw smiles on our faces and that we had the confidence we can win this game. We came out and put the pressure on them."

Sophomore Forward/Midfielder Joe Lapira

On scoring the second goal:

JL: "Once Justin scored it really put the pressure on them (IU). I got close to the last defender and (Ben) Crouse just gave a great ball through to me and I just had to tap it over the goalie."

-- Courtesy Indiana