A golden goal from Austin da Luz gave second-seeded Wake Forest a 1-0 overtime victory against No. 10 seed Notre Dame in the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship quarterfinals on Saturday night in front of 4,859 fans at Spry Stadium. The Fighting Irish conclude the season with a 14-5-5 record.
"It was a great environment here tonight at Spry Stadium," said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. "It was a great game and Wake Forest is a very, very good team. All I can say now is that I wish them well in the final four. They are arguably one of the best teams we played this year. I was very impressed with them tonight."
Wake Forest (20-2-2) controlled possession in the first half and out shot the Irish 9-1 in the period. The Irish survived a few scares from the Demon Deacons, who had some looks from inside the 18-yard box. The best Wake Forest opportunity of the half occurred with 11:07 left as Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill came out of the box to try and run down the ball yet Marcus Tracy got to it first and his open look at the net was blocked by Notre Dame's Cory Rellas.
The Fighting Irish had their first chance at a score with 35:40 remaining in the first half as a Joseph Lapira cross was delivered in from the right side but Kurt Martin could not get a good touch on the ball. Later in the half, Lapira collected the first Notre Dame shot with 14:28 left as he sent the ball in from the left side and it went wide right of the goal from 20 yards out.
"I thought we had a hard time with them in the first half because their pressure was terrific," added Clark. "It was hard for us to get a rhythm and get into our game during the first half."
Less than two minutes into the second half, Wake Forest had another good look as Cody Arnoux chipped the ball over Cahill but the shot sailed wide right. Cahill and the Notre Dame defense weathered several Wake Forest attempts from close range throughout the match.
The Notre Dame offense came to life in the second half by producing five shots, compared to four from Wake Forest. It looked as though the Irish might break through late in regulation as they forced a couple corner kicks. For the match, the Demon Deacons out shot the Fighting Irish 15-6 and the hosts also held an 8-4 edge in corner kicks.
In the 97th minute, Tracy fed da Luz and he put the ball past a diving Cahill and into the right side of the net for the game winner. The victory advanced Wake Forest to the NCAA semifinals for the second straight season.
"I thought we got a hold of things in the second half," stated Clark. "I thought we really had it because I thought we turned the corner and I was feeling confident going into the overtime. We never got started again in the overtime and they got a hold of it and carried most of the play."
Cahill made three saves on the night, while his counterpart Brian Edwards was credited with one stop.