Pat Leonard | Friday, September 19, 2003
Notre Dame avenged its postseason loss of a year ago with a 1-0 double overtime victory over No. 19 Indiana at Alumni field on Thursday.
The No. 13 Irish scored with 2:48 remaining in the second overtime on a deflection off of a direct kick from twenty yards out. It was just Notre Dame’s second shot on goal in the extra period.
Senior midfielder Chad Riley, who kicked the ball, swears the play was not designed.
“It was not a set play,” he said. “I just hit it and it happened to deflect.”
Kevin Goldthwaite, who redirected the ball into the net, gave the same account.
“I just wanted to frame it and get a rebound if it came off the keeper,” he said. “It just went off my side.”
Whatever Goldthwaite or Notre Dame meant to do, the play worked, and the Irish are now 3-1-2.
The kick was set up by an Indiana foul on freshman Nate Norman. The Irish midfielder intercepted an ill-advised trail pass by a Hoosier forward and made the run deep into Indiana territory. Norman and the Irish, even with so much time elapsed, were still on the attack.
“What I like is when we play overtime, we’re the team trying to win,” coach Bobby Clark said. “This team can play with anyone.”
The Hoosiers out-shot the Irish 6-3 in the first half, but shots were even the rest of the way. Neither team was shy in its distribution of fouls [Indiana 17, Notre Dame 15] in what became a physical battle, with three yellow cards being handed out by referees.
Indiana controlled play to start the game, and Notre Dame seemingly kicked the ball without a purpose. When the Irish settled down, they were content to work the ball between defenders and midfielders and maintain possession.
Chances in the first half came on sideline runs by Irish defenders Kevin Richards and Goldthwaite. Richards had more than a couple crosses sail over the box. His play, however, kept the Hoosier defense at bay and prevented them from pinching on offense.
“We have two of the best overlapping fullbacks in the country,” Clark said.
In the second half, Indiana got off to a similar start. Notre Dame caught a break with just under sixteen minutes to play in the half when Hoosier midfielder Pat Yates took a through ball in on Irish goalie Chris Sawyer and missed wide right on a perfect angle. The Irish rebounded similarly to the first half and carried the play into overtime.
“This is a big game because it’s in-state, but the biggest part that’s important is they’re in our region,” Riley said. “That could come into play come tournament time. Maybe they’ll have to travel here this time.”
Notre Dame players said that, if nothing else, they wanted to win this game for their coach. Clark had a 2-3 career record against 31-year Indiana coach Jerry Yeagley. Yeagley will retire after this season.
“The Boss is .500 with Yeagley now, so we’re happy we could do this for him,” Goldthwaite said after scoring the game-winner.
Norman and fellow freshman Ian Etherington both received significant playing time.
Norman has seen much action to date, and his role in this game may mean something more on a personal level for the first-year player.
“I think Nate has been burdened with trying to do everything when he gets on the field,” captain Greg Martin said. “This is great because with setting up this goal I think the tide really turned for him. I’m glad for him. Nate Norman is the epitome of a Notre Dame guy.”
Senior Justin Detter struggled on runs at forward, prompting Clark to insert sophomore Tony Megna at forward in overtime and move Detter to midfield.