November 10, 2012
By Charles Cuttone
Georgetown-Notre Dame know each other well
It's not likely that there are two college teams in the country that know each other as well as Georgetown and Notre Dame, who will face off for the Big East Championship on Sunday at PPL Park at noon.
|Ryan Finley scored twice in a single minute the last time Notre Dame played Georgetown. The teams meet again on Sunday in the Big East Championship match at PPL Park.
Linda Cuttone/Spots Vue Images
The two teams have met once before this year, with the Fighting Irish coming out on the plus side of a 3-0 win in South Bend. But that scoreline doesn't reflect the intensity of that game, according to Notre Dame coach Bobby Clarke.
“Georgetown is one of the best teams we have played this year,” Clark said.
Big East Conference Offensive Player of the year Ryan Finley ran roughshod over the Hoyas in that game, scoring twice in a one-minute span. The three goals are the most allowed by the Hoyas this season and it was the only time Georgetown has been shut out this season.
“We know each other very well.” Clark coached Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese at Dartmouth before the two coached together at Stanford and Notre Dame. Altogether, the pair spent ten years coaching side by side.
Looking at the field in the Big East tournament, Wiese was not concerned about who the Hoyas would have to face in the final, either Notre Dame or Connecticut, who the Fighting Irish beat 1-0 on a Dillon Powers goal in Friday's second semi -final.
"You've got one of the best teams in the country either way," said Weise following the Hoyas 2-1 overtime win over Marquette, another top 10 team. "It's one of the things this conference is about.
"It's an opportunity to get our crack at one of the best teams in the country."
The Hoyas advanced to the final after an epic battle against the Golden Eagles Friday night, with Big East Rookie of the Year Brandon Allen scoring a golden goal in the final minute of overtime.
The goal came off a corner kick with just 59 seconds left in the second overtime. Steve Neumann played a corner kick from the near side, Tommy Mueller flicked it on and Allen was positioned perfectly in front of the Golden Eagles’ net to tap it in.
Georgetown took the lead just before the stroke of halftime. After a nice buildup, Jimmy Nealis sent a ball from the left side to the Steve Neumann at the right side of the box. From the edge of the 18, Neumann sent the ball across the face of the goal. It took a carom off the left post before settling into the net in the 45th minute.
The Golden Eagles got the equalizer in the 57th minute. Lysak made a run down the left side and slipped the ball off to Bryan Ciesiulka and then continued his run into the area. Lysak got the ball back and neatly finished past Hoyas goalkeeper Tomas Gomez.
The winner of Sunday's match earns an automatic berth the NCAA Championship, which 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 four of the teams that played in this weekend's Big East Championships are expected to be high NCAA seeds.
"We’ve got to be in the top eight, maybe the top four,” said UConn coach Ray Reid after Friday night’s loss to the Irish. “We play in the toughest conference in the country.”
Likewise, Marquette coach Louis Bennett was anxiously looking ahead to Monday.
"On Monday we are going to be called," he said, noting that the team needs to regroup somewhat after Friday’s draining loss, "and we will have to pick ourselves up."