Terps eliminated in 107th minute

Notre Dame's Lapira scores lone goal, halts Maryland's home tournament streak at 13

Notre Dame 1 Maryland 0 (2OT)

College soccer

November 19, 2006|By Bryan Mann | Bryan Mann,Special to the Sun

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland shut down the nation's leading goal scorer for more than 100 minutes of last night's third-round game in the NCAA men's soccer tournament.

But that was not long enough.

Notre Dame forward Joseph Lapira failed to find the net during 90 minutes of regulation and the majority of two overtimes. Then, in the 107th minute, he broke through and beat the Terps.

Lapira scored the game-winner in sudden death when he took a low shot to the right of diving Maryland goalkeeper Chris Seitz, eliminating the Terps, 1-0, in front of 2,769 at Ludwig Field.

"I actually thought he had caught it," said Lapira, who has 22 goals this season. "Then I saw it trickle through and hit the post [and go in], so then I just went crazy."

Said Terps coach Sasho Cirovski, "For a second we lost him there and he made a great shot, really."

Notre Dame advances to play Virginia, which beat California, 2-1, last night.

The Terps' loss broke a streak of 13 straight home playoff wins, making it the first time in five years they failed to reach the NCAA's version of the final four, the College Cup.

"I think all great runs have to end somewhere," Cirovski said. "When you're a measuring stick for so long and you're getting everyone's absolute best, someone's going to nip you in the butt, and that's what happened to us tonight."

Up until the goal, Maryland and Notre Dame matched each other's play. Total shots slightly favored Maryland 16-14, and Notre Dame had only one more shot on goal.

Maryland almost scored the game-winner just before Notre Dame did.

Terps midfielder Stephen King took a shot from just outside of the box. The shot lifted toward the top corner of the net, but hit the bottom of the crossbar and ricocheted out.

"That's the nature of soccer," Cirovski said. "King had a great shot - it looked like it was going in. ... Two minutes later they get an opportunity when the game opened up. You can't give too many opportunities to a kid like Lapira."

Despite their earlier-than-normal exit from the NCAA tournament, the Terps fared well in what at the beginning of the season looked to be a rebuilding year.

After winning the national championship last year, the majority of the Terps' starters graduated or left early to play professionally.

Next year the Terps will lose only three players from this year's team - midfielder A.J. Godbolt, defender David Glaudemans and midfielder Pat Wilson. Only Godbolt started last night.

"We have a lot of great young men who represent the best of Maryland soccer," Cirovski said. "I think this is the risk of going after lofty goals. We've had an incredible run here, and we're going to start another one next year."

Notre Dame 1, Maryland 0, 2OT

ND 0 0 0 1 - 1

M 0 0 0 0 - 0

Goal: ND-Lapira. Assist: ND- Rellas. Saves: ND-Cahill 4, Quinn 3; M-Seitz 7. A-2,769.

Today's game

Matchup -- Towson (15-1-3) at Wake Forest (16-3-3) in NCAA Division I men's tournament third-round game

Where -- Winston-Salem, N.C.

When -- Today, 2 p.m.

Outlook -- After extending their streak of unbeaten matches to 14 with a 2-0 victory over Fairfield, the Tigers face an elevated challenge when they visit the second-seeded Demon Deacons. Wake scored three goals in a nine-minute span to defeat Hofstra, 5-1, and earn a school-record 16th win. Fifteenth-seeded Towson, which has a 0.55 goals-against average, outshot Fairfield 16-6 and got a diving save by goalkeeper Alex Cunliffe on a penalty kick to preserve the shutout.

Christian Ewell

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