Notre Dame vs. Indiana game story

Joseph Lapira had worked hard for his first three goals.

That fourth one, the overtime winner in Notre Dame’s 5-4 defeat of Indiana at Armstrong Stadium yesterday? That was just lucky.

And it provided an abrupt ending to the latest game in what has become one of college soccer’s most intriguing rivalries. The Fighting Irish have now won three of the last five meetings.

This one can be filed as one of the most bizarre and emotional loses in the history of Indiana soccer.

To recreate the feeling Lapira’s final goal gave to 5,613 fans, the recap has to start earlier.

So, here: Darren Yeagle is rolling on the ground, having just been fouled hard while chasing a ball near the 6-yard-line.

There are 11.7 seconds left, the Irish are up 4-3 and the ref is signaling for a penalty kick.

John Michael Hayden steps to the ball, then backs up a few feet. He charges and puts a shot low and left and into the net.

“We thought that would give us the momentum and carry us into the overtime,” Hayden said.

It did. As it had all game, Indiana controlled the ball and created the type of chances that typically lead to goals. The Hoosiers worked the edges and tried to get the ball inside. Charlie Traylor had a shot to bury a rebound but couldn’t get a bouncing ball to stay low. His shot sailed.

Then Indiana earned a corner kick, and Hayden’s ball into the middle wasn’t played cleanly. That led to another corner. Again Hayden’s ball into the middle wasn’t handled by any of the Irish, but it did squirt out toward the midfield.

And then the Irish were off.

Lapira made a run deep left, heard someone yell “Far post!” and did whatever he could to get it there. He was inches from the back line.

The ball floated up – Lapira said it hit Indiana defender Ofori Sarkodi’s foot – and spun over the net before dropping into the far corner of the net.

What happened was, at best, improbable.

“Everyone has their day,” said Lapira. “That was just a cross, and I got lucky and it found the one spot it could go in.”

So Indiana coach Mike Freitag and his players can at least in part blame this on luck.

And they insist they’ll move on quickly.

“Sure it was tough and we have a lot of young guys,” senior captain Julian Dieterle said. “But it was just one game.”

But it was also one game unlike anything the Hoosiers had ever seen.

Indiana has never allowed five goals in a game. It has been competing in soccer since 1973.

Last’s year team didn’t surrender its fifth goal until October 14th.

Freitag believes the weak defensive effort was an anomaly.

He said he felt a few players didn’t play hard enough and allowed tired legs from Friday’s double-overtime tie with Connecticut to beat them today.

All Dieterle said was, “It will be corrected, and it won’t happen again.”

How it will be corrected remains to be seen. Indiana’s midfield wasn’t eager to play defense this weekend, and the backs were overwhelmed.

Notre Dame’s first two goals were the product of sloppiness. On the first, back Greg Stevning mishandled a bouncing ball and Lapira broke in alone.

Kevin Robson tied the game for Indiana with a hard low shot at 35:43.

And Notre Dame immediately countered, with Ian Etherington corralling a ball low and beating keeper Chris Munroe just 15 seconds later.

But Indiana came back, and furiously. Brad Ring planted a bouncing ball into the top corner from 20 yards out at 41:50, and Darren Yeagle made a 40-yard run all on his own to score 17 seconds later to put Indiana ahead for the first time, 3-2.

Lapira got two more goals, a header and shot from near the net, in the second half.

Munroe made just two saves, but he didn’t appear to have a play on any of the goals. Still, he took the loss hard.

“There were some good goals, and there were some defensive breakdowns,” Munroe said. “As a keeper, it’s your job to keep the ball out of the net, and I didn’t do that.”

2 comments

Comments are closed.