Lapira's Golden Goal Gives Notre Dame 1-0 Win

Nov. 18, 2006

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    COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Joseph Lapira scored with 3:04 seconds left in the second overtime to lift No. 12 Notre Dame to a 1-0 victory against No. 7 Maryland in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on November 18 at Ludwig Field. It was the first time the Terps had lost at home in the NCAA Tournament since 2001. Maryland broke the single-season attendance record at the game as a total of 40,907 fans watched the Terps at Ludwig in 2006.

    Lapira's goal was his 22nd of the season, tops in the country. Dale Rellas was credited with the assist on the game-winner. The goal came just 1:22 after junior Stephen King came inches away from recording the golden goal for the Terps as a blast he hit nailed the left post.

    With 2,769 spectators in attendance, Maryland broke the all-time single-season attendance record set by Connecticut in 2000. The Huskies held the mark at 38,804 before the Terrapins topped that number tonight.

    "I'm extremely proud," head coach Sasho Cirovski said. "We lost six kids to the pros last year and then we lost one of the best players in the country to a pro contract in the preseason. A lot of people had us for dead this year. We played to record crowds everywhere. We battled and beat a lot of great teams. We played a lot of great soccer and it might have caught up to us a little bit in the end."

    The first 20 minutes of the match belonged to the Terps, creating multiple dangerous chances that ended up being snuffed out by the Notre Dame back line. Just over two minutes into the match, King got the action started when he sent a blast from 25 yards out that ND keeper Chris Cahill deflected over the cross bar.

    The Terrapins kept pressing on the offensive end and at the 29:41 mark, junior Maurice Edu sent a shot to the left side, but Cahill came up with another big save to keep Maryland off the board.

    The Irish responded quickly on the counterattack after that save, and Lapira created a shot that went just high of the mark. Notre Dame began to get on the offensive from then on and with 18 minutes to go in the half, Nate Norman received a cross on the left side of the box. With nobody on him, he had a clear lane to shoot and aimed for the bottom right corner. Sophomore keeper Chris Seitz made the diving save to keep ND at bay.

    Two and a half minutes later, Ryan Miller sent a blast from about 25 yards out that just missed to the left.

    The Terps got the last quality chance of the half when freshman Jason Herrick delivered a hard shot towards Cahill, but again, he came up with an impressive save to keep the game scoreless going into the half.

    Six minutes after the break, the Terps used some nifty teamwork and passing to create another dangerous chance on goal. Sophomore Graham Zusi found Herrick in the middle of the field and then Herrick set up senior A.J. Godbolt on the right side of the box. Godbolt sent a shot towards goal, but keeper Andrew Quinn, who replaced the injured Cahill, came up with the save.

    A majority of the rest of the half was played in the midfield with both teams getting another dangerous chance to put a goal on the board. With 24:31 on the clock, Notre Dame's Michael Thomas sent a blast towards the goal from 20 yards out. His shot, however, sailed just wide to the right.

    With five minutes to go, the Terps again tried to create a goal by effectively sharing the ball. King started it this time and he found Edu. Edu spotted Herrick and sent him the ball, but his shot was blocked by the Irish back line before it could reach the mark and the sides ended regulation scoreless.

    The first overtime session was a back and forth affair with the Irish getting the only real chance of the first 10 minutes. Kurt Martin sent a lob pass into Lapira in front of the box. Lapira had his man beat and only Seitz was in front of him and the goal. Seitz came up and challenged Lapira and he misfired. The ball sailed off the right side of his foot and out of play.

    In the second overtime, Godbolt was able to get a shot on goal 2:30 into the session but it was saved by Quinn. King then sent a shot that hit the left post at the 105:34 mark, setting up Lapira for his heroics when he scored at 106:56.

    "We showed a lot of resiliency and class throughout the year," Cirovski said. "It's been a great year. We broke the all-time attendance record for college soccer. We helped elevate the significance of this sport not only here but all over the country. We have a lot of great young men who represent the best of Maryland soccer. We had an incredible run here and we're going to start another one next year."