NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- It was better late than never for Nick Besler and the top-ranked Notre Dame men's soccer team on Tuesday evening as Besler headed home the golden goal in the 107th minute in a 1-0 triumph against VCU at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame (5-1-2) controlled much of the match and outshot VCU 23-8, including an 8-1 advantage in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish earned 10 corner kicks compared to just three for the Rams (3-6-1).
The game-winning sequence began with a corner kick from Patrick Hodan and Jeffrey Farina headed the ball to Besler -- a senior captain -- who was positioned at the near post. It was the first goal of the season for Besler.
"We'd been getting really good service all night from Connor [Klekota] and [Patrick] Hodan and Jeff [Farina] got the initial header and put it right across the box and I was there right at the goal line," Besler said. "It was pretty easy for me."
The Fighting Irish nearly broke through in the final minutes of regulation. In the 87th minute, Hodan sent a corner kick into the box and Brandon Aubrey headed the ball on frame, but it was cleared off the goal line by a Ram defender. VCU goalkeeper Garrett Cyprus dove and punched away a Hodan shot, which came from the top of the penalty box, in the 88th minute.
"We have a very positive team and they've been through these things before," Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. "We were dominating in the second half similar to the Kentucky game when we lost in the last minute. And even tonight we had to scramble in the last minute of regulation and I thought 'Oh, no. Not again.' You just have to stick with what you were doing well and connecting passes. I really thought we did a really good job of that in the second half. I thought we really controlled the second half and overtime."
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