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Men’s Soccer: Golden goal ends season

Dan Murphy | Monday, December 10, 2007

Wake Forest sophomore Austin da Luz ended a scoreless tie – and Notre Dame’s season – with a goal seven minutes into overtime in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Saturday.

Junior forward Marcus Tracy carried the ball up the right side and cut it back to Da Luz just outside of the goalie box. The 160-pound midfielder ripped a low shot that snuck under Irish keeper Chris Cahill into the bottom left corner of the net.

“It was a great shot. It was a funny goal because it didn’t seem it was an imminent danger as the move started,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said.

No. 10 Notre Dame had built up momentum after halftime and looked to be on the attack going into the overtime period. The Irish outshot the No. 2 Demon Deacons 5-4 in the second half and also held a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks. However, the highly talented Wake Forest defense kept Notre Dame from creating any serious scoring chances throughout the game.

“They are a very good team; they pressure very hard. They do a lot of the same things we do, there are a lot of similarities,” Clark said. “I felt in the first half that hurt us a little bit. We couldn’t get into our rhythm to play because their pressure was very good.”

Wake Forest, who has yet to lose a game at home this year, outshot Notre Dame 9-1 in the first half and controlled the pace of the game. The home team fed off of the energy of the sold -out Spry Stadium on a warm, windless night and put relentless pressure on the Irish for the first 45 minutes.

“It certainly may have been an advantage [for Wake Forest], the field was pretty much perfect, the stadium was crammed full; it was an absolute perfect environment for the players to play in,” Clark said.

Notre Dame has played all of its postseason games under windy, and usually very cold, conditions. Clark said it may have helped Notre Dame if the game had been in South Bend.

This is the second-straight year Notre Dame has lost in the NCAA quarterfinals. In 2006, the Irish lost to Virginia 3-2 on the road.

Clark said this year’s opponent was stronger and the team played better because they knew what to expect.

“The players all feel that they did well and that we really were very close to pulling it off,” Clark said.

Saturday’s loss was the final game for several key Irish players. The senior class was responsible for 20 of the 36 goals scored this year. The class brought Notre Dame to its first two quarterfinal appearances in school history.

“This has been a great group of seniors. They have been great players and leaders, I am very sad to see them go,” Clark said. “But if we are doing our job right, there should be players waiting in the wings to fill their shoes.”