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Men’s Soccer: Team falls to St. John’s 1-0

Tom Brennan | Monday, November 7, 2005

Notre Dame was out for redemption.

On Sept. 16, the Irish were badly outplayed at St. John’s in a 2-1 loss to the Red Storm. Notre Dame headed into Saturday night’s rematch in the second round of the Big East Tournament looking for a much better result this time around in New York.

But despite playing a very competitive game, the Irish fell to the Red Storm 1-0 and were eliminated from the Big East Tournament.

“We played fairly well,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “We certainly played better than the last time we played there. We got our game plan right this time.”

St. John’s freshman midfielder Garry Lewis scored the game’s only goal in the 78th minute of play. Senior midfielder Jeff Carroll took a free kick from midfield and found senior defender Billy Hole in the box. Hole sent the ball to Lewis, who headed it past Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill to give St. John’s the lead.

The two teams battled to a standstill for much of the first half, with neither side coming up with many scoring opportunities. With 35 seconds remaining in the half, though, the Irish received a big break. St. John’s midfielder Sebastian Alvarado-Ralph was given a red card for elbowing Notre Dame senior defender Ben Crouse in the head. St. John’s would have to play the rest of the game with one fewer man on the field than the Irish.

Playing a man up, Notre Dame began controlling play. The Irish held the ball for much of the second half, and Irish forwards Joe Lapira and Justin McGeeney had scoring chances for the Irish. The St. John’s defense proved strong, though, and thwarted the Irish advances.

“In the second half, I thought we were really taking control of the game,” Clark said. “It was looking as though if a goal was scored, it was going to be us that was going to get it. But we didn’t.”

Clark attributed the loss partly to the great home-field advantage held by the Red Storm. St. John’s plays very well on its turf.

“It’s very fast, and it makes for a very direct game,” Clark said. “And they do that better than any team.”

Midfielder Alex Yoshinaga led the Irish with four shots. Clark said Yoshinaga stood out as having a particularly strong game.

“[Yoshinaga] found the ball a lot and really worked very hard,” Clark said. “[He] picked up second balls and played very well.”

Cahill recorded five saves in the game, while St. John’s keeper Jason Landers had two.

Notre Dame must now receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Clark thinks his team has a good shot at being named to the 48-team field due to its tough schedule.

“We play one of the stronger schedules in the country,” Clark said. “It’s the strongest schedule we’ve ever played.

“I definitely think we are in very good shape.”

The NCAA Tournament field will be announced on Monday, Nov. 14.