The run is over.
The New Mexico men’s soccer team ended their College Cup trip Friday in Philadelphia with a 2-0 loss to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish moved on to Sunday’s NCAA national championship game to play Maryland, who beat Virginia 2-1 in the other semifinal.
Notre Dame (16-1-6) controlled every aspect of the game after an early push from New Mexico (14-6-2). The Irish capitalized on a bad Lobo pass near the seven-minute in the midfield for its first goal. Harrison Shipp collected the ball off the errand ball and sent it to Patrick Hodan, scoring from the top of the box.
“Tough way to go, I wish I could say we were at our best today; I think we were all kind of disappointed with our performance,” UNM coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “It was because Notre Dame was good, and that was part of it; they were very good. I just didn’t feel that we had it today, and it was unfortunate that it came in the national semifinals.”
UNM had not given up a goal in the NCAA tournament prior to Hodan’s score, snapping a 317-minute streak.
Hodan had scored in Notre Dame’s last six games. He added another goal in the second half when Shipp’s pass to Vince Cicciarelli’s shot bounced off the cross bar. The ball bounced to Hodan, and his header sailed past UNM goalkeeper Michael Lisch. Cicciarelli received credit for the assist along with Shipp, whose pass set up Cicciarelli’s one-touch attempt.
“Their game plan coming in was to bring it to the middle; our game plan was to force them wide,” Lisch said. “They took advantage of an opportunity…no surprises. It’s just an unfortunate way to get scored on.”
The Irish defense held despite UNM firing four first-half shots on goal, including a pair from Niko Hansen. That effort in Notre Dame’s back end continued through the latter 45 minutes, and the Lobos found difficulty penetrating the defense until the game’s closing moments.
Notre Dame outshot UNM by a 11-10 margin. Lisch stopped three Irish shots, while Irish keeper Patrick Wall made five saves.
UNM reached the NCAA College Cup only one other time when in 2005 the Lobos lost to Maryland in the championship game.
“It’s unfortunate to end this way, but everybody but one team kind of leaves with hard feelings,” Fishbein said. “Our challenge is to focus not just on today’s performance, but these guys’ whole careers and experience.”
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