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Starting with a bang

Greg Arbogast | Monday, September 3, 2007

You can add another first to the Notre Dame program under Bobby Clark.

After directing the Irish in a season that featured their first ever quarterfinal appearance in the NCAA Tournament and their first Hermann Trophy winner, Joseph Lapira, Clark led Notre Dame to its first ever win over the No. 1 team in the country.

Notre Dame defeated top-ranked UCLA 2-1 in overtime Friday night in its first game of the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic before falling 3-0 to No. 7 Maryland Sunday afternoon.

Heading into their game with UCLA, the Irish were 0-5-0 against teams ranked No. 1 since 1990. Senior midfielder Alex Yoshinaga made sure that record didn’t fall to 0-6-0 when he found the back of the net for a “golden goal” just four minutes into the first overtime period.

The play started when freshman Jeb Brovsky connected with Yoshinaga on a give-and-go, and after getting the return pass, Brovsky played the ball in to senior forward Joseph Lapira. With his back to the goal just six yards out, Lapira laid the ball back to an onrushing Yoshinaga, who blasted it home.

“It was a good game,” Clark said. “We played very well against one of the best college teams, and it was good for that reason.”

Notre Dame had almost won the game in regulation, but UCLA defender Chance Myers scored off a free kick with only 38 seconds remaining. The sequence was reminiscent of Notre Dame’s game against Indiana one year ago in the Credit Union Classic when the Hoosiers tied the game at four on a penalty kick in the last minute.

“It was kind of déjà vu,” Clark said. “I told them you won the game in regulation. Go out and win it again, and that’s what they did. We showed a lot of spirit and a lot of character.”

Besides his assist on Yoshinaga’s goal, Lapira also tallied his first official goal of the season when he scored in the 24th minute. The goal came after a flurry of Irish chances, including a shot from senior forward Kurt Martin that was deflected by Bruin goalkeeper Brian Perk, and another from sophomore midfielder Justin Morrow that went just wide.

While the majority of the action occurred late in Notre Dame’s game against UCLA, the scoring started early Sunday afternoon against Maryland.

Only five minutes into the game, junior Graham Zusi took a pass from sophomore Jeremy Hall and deposited the ball past Irish keeper Andrew Quinn to give Maryland a 1-0 lead.

The Terrapins almost doubled their advantage 11 minutes later when Quinn’s clear of a cross went to Maryland’s Anthony Wallace, whose shot sailed just over the crossbar.

Four minutes before halftime, the Terrapins found the back of the net again. The play started when midfielder Stephen King sent a cross in from the endline, and midfielder Drew Yates collected the ball and slotted it into the lower left corner of the Irish goal.

“I thought we were getting into the game pretty well in the first 10 to 15 minutes, but just as we were getting into the game, they got the second goal,” Clark said.

While the Terrapins had plenty of early chances, Notre Dame did not register a shot on goal in the first. Throughout the game, the Irish managed only three shots to Maryland’s 17.

Sunday was the first time in 15 games that Notre Dame was shut out. That last happened on Sept. 20, 2006, when the Irish tied Northern Illinois 0-0.

The Irish will return home next weekend for the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament where they will take on Rhode Island and Northern Illinois.