Notre Dame Wins 2012 Men's Soccer Championship

CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
NOTRE DAME PRESS CONFERENCE
GEORGETOWN PRESS CONFERENCE

 

Chester, Pa. - Senior Ryan Finley scored with a minute remaining in the second overtime to lead Notre Dame (16-3-1) to a 3-2 victory against Georgetown (17-3-1) in an offensively aggressive, hard-fought BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship game at PPL Park on Nov. 11.

 

In the 109th minute, with just seconds remaining before going to penalty kicks, Finley, the tournament's Most Outstanding Offensive Performer, sent the gamewinner in off a corner kick from senior Dillon Powers that was also touched by sophomore Nick Besler.

 

"That was a great final," said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark of the battle of top-10 teams. "Two good teams, two very good teams. To have two teams play this way in a final shows how good they are."

 

In the 39th minute, senior Andy Riemer scored the first goal of the game on a deflection in the penalty area. Off assists from freshman Melvin Snoh and sophomore Tyler Rudy, Riemer gathered the ball in a scramble in front of the net and was able to put Georgetown ahead.

 

Rudy almost made it 2-0, as a long cross got batted around in front of the goal and he found the net, but there was a hand ball called prior to the goal.

 

Five minutes into the second half, Notre Dame knotted the game at 1-1 as junior Luke Mishu sent a cross to Finley, who was positioned right in front of the net six yards out and blasted it in to tie the match. 

 

In the 82nd minute, Riemer found the back of the net for his second goal of the game and eighth of the season, putting the Hoyas ahead 2-1 with just a little over eight minutes remaining in regulation. The assist came from senior Jimmy Nealis, his fifth of the season.

 

With 32 seconds remaining, Besler fired in an equalizer to send the game into overtime.

 

Notre Dame held a 22-13 edge in shots. The teams were tied with seven corner kicks each. Irish goalkeeper Patrick Wall made four saves, while Tomas Gomez made five saves between the posts for Georgetown.

 

"This is why the BIG EAST Championship is a reasonable facsimile of the NCAA Championship," said Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese. "Taking a step back, as far as the game, it was a pretty exciting game."

 

Notre Dame earns the league's automatic berth the NCAA Championship with its third BIG EAST Championship title. The national semifinals and final will be held at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala., on Dec. 7 and 9.

 

Last season, the BIG EAST had seven teams earn spots in the NCAA Championship. All seven teams earned home games, with four teams earning byes to the second round. Three teams advanced to the quarterfinals (Connecticut, Louisville and USF). The selection show will be on NCAA.com on Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m. ET.

 

Georgetown defeated Marquette 2-1 in double-overtime in the first semifinal on Nov. 9, and Notre Dame shut out Connecticut 1-0 in the second semifinal to reach the title game.

 

The Hoyas and Irish had met once during the regular season, with Notre Dame posting a 3-0 win on Oct. 6.

 

Joining Powers and Finley on the BIG EAST All-Tournament team were: Carlos Alvarez (Connecticut), Brandon Allen (Georgetown), Jimmy Nealis (Georgetown), Steve Neumann (Georgetown), Andy Riemer (Georgetown), Bryan Ciesiulka (Marquette),Nick Besler (Notre Dame), Ryan Finley (Notre Dame), Dillon Powers (Notre Dame), Grant Van De Casteele (Notre Dame) and Patrick Wall (Notre Dame). Van De Casteele was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Defensive Performer.