Hernandez Scores Game-Winner to Lift No. 15/17 Men's Soccer Over No. 13/23 Notre Dame 1-0 in Overtime
STORRS, Conn. (October 25, 2008) – Junior Cruz Hernandez (El Monte, Calif.) scored his first goal of the season 2:13 into overtime to lift the No. 15/17 University of Connecticut men’s soccer team over No. 13/23 Notre Dame in BIG EAST Conference play on Saturday afternoon at Morrone Stadium.
Hernandez' header in the box found an opening in the corner of the near post as he connected off a free kick by junior Mike Pezza (Jackson, N.J.). Pezza picked up his team-leading seventh assist of the season with the pass as the Huskies improve to 8-3-5 overall and 5-3-1 in BIG EAST play. With the loss, Notre Dame falls to 9-5-2 and 5-2-2 in conference action.
The Huskies recorded the first shot on goal of the afternoon as Andrew McKie (Sydney, Australia) headed a ball that was grabbed right in front of the net by Notre Dame goalkeeper, Andrew Quinn. UConn goalkeeper Josh Ford (Liverpool, N.Y.) picked up his first save of the day as Notre Dame's Jeb Brovsky sent the ball into traffic at the top of the box but Ford was able to get a hold of it for his 59th save of the season.
UConn controlled the game in the first half of play as they continually attacked the Notre Dame defense, led by two shots just wide of the goal by sophomore Shawn Nicklaw (San Diego, Calif.).
The Huskies had a good look at 19:53 as Hernandez reached McKie in the box on a throw-in from the near side line. But McKie's shot hit off the legs of a sliding Quinn. On the rebound, an Irish defender tried to clear the ball out but Hernandez got a hold of it, drilling the ball from 30-yards out but missed high.
In the 41st minute of play, senior Dori Arad (Hahotrim, Israel) powered a shot through the Irish defense but missed wide of the near post, sending the Huskies and the Irish into the locker room with a scoreless 45 minutes of play.
To start the second half the Irish drilled the ball from the top corner of the 18-yard box into the hands of Ford at the far post before a shot by Pezza was again just wide of the target. Freshman Tony Cascio (Gilbert, Ariz.) had a look deep in the 18-yard box but sent the ball high. Hernandez followed with his own look but missed just shy of the near post.
The Huskies' defense dominated today's contest as Ford didn't see many touches in goal. With help from Oscar Castillo (El Monte, Calif.) and Robert Brickley (Wethersfield, Conn.), the Huskies held Notre Dame to 10 shots, a team in which averages 16.3 per game. With the shutout, Ford's tally improves to 10 on the year as he and the Huskies held the Irish scoreless in 92:13 minutes as Notre Dame is a program that averages 2.33 goals per contest.
The Huskies will next travel to BIG EAST opponent Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Founders Field (Indianola, Pa.). The Panthers are currently 2-5-1 in the BIG EAST with a 6-6-2 overall record. UConn has won 11 consecutive contests against the Panthers, including a 4-0 win in 2007 in Storrs, Conn.
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