Dec. 1, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The seventh-seeded Santa Clara men's soccer team's season came to an end Saturday night under the lights of Buck Shaw Stadium as the tenth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish posted a 2-0 shutout in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Broncos finish the 2007 season with a 16-2-4 overall record and their ninth WCC Championship with an unbeaten 10-0-2 record.
"We had a good run this season," said head coach Cameron Rast. "We knew Notre Dame was going to be a tough team to beat. They really took it to us tonight. There were a couple of bad decisions on our end, but our defense was pretty solid. Notre Dame just did a better job of getting control of the ball and that really set the momentum for the game."
Ryan Brown started the attack for the Broncos with a shot that went slightly wide of the goal just under a minute into the contest. The Broncos had seven of the first half's 15 shots. Matt Hatzke attempted to put the Broncos on the scoreboard as he took a strong right-footed shot that was blocked by an Irish defender in the 16th minute.
SCU and Notre Dame shared possession of the ball until the final three minutes as the Broncos kept Irish goalkeeper Chris Kahill busy. Yet, neither team was able to score and sent the game into halftime, 0-0.
Hatzke started the momentum for the Broncos with another hard shot in the 46th minute that quickly found the hands of Kahill. Notre Dame kept the majority of the play in Santa Clara's half but the quickness of the Broncos defense cleared several goal-scoring opportunities for the Irish.
Yet, it was Joseph Lapira who received a long pass from Alex Yoshinaga and went on a fast break to put the Irish on the scoreboard. He fought off two Santa Clara defenders to send a shot into the right corner of the goal.
Three short minutes later, Lapira earned possession of the ball again on the Broncos far left side of the field and after fighting off Jalil Anibaba crossed the ball to Dave Donohue. The Irish midfielder chipped the ball into the right corner of the goal over the head of Joseph Buttitta to give Notre Dame a 2-0 lead.
The Broncos fought hard to tie the game up but were unable to as the Irish advanced to the fourth round of the NCAA tournament with the 2-0 shutout and will face the winner of the Wake Forest/West Virginia contest.