November 11, 2012
PLUCK OF THE IRISH
Irish top Georgetown in 2OT for Big East championship
CHESTER, Pa.--As if he needed to, Ryan Finley proved why he is the Big East's Offensive Player of the Year on Sunday. Finley scored two goals, including the game-winner in the last minute of the second overtime, to lift Notre Dame to a 3-2 win over Georgetown at PPL Park, giving them the Big East Championship.
|Ryan Finley scored in the last minute of the second overtime to lift Notre Dame over Georgetown for the Big East championship Sunday at PPL Park.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Finley scored the game-winner with less than a minute left, getting a leg on the ball following a corner kick from the far side.
"That was a great final," said Notre Dame coach Bobby Clarke. "Two good teams, two very good teams. To have two teams play this way in a final shows how good they are.”
The game, which pitted two of the top five teams in the nation, was a heavyweight slugfest from the outset, and marked the second time this season Notre Dame and Clark had gotten the best of Georgetown and his long time assistant Brian Wiese.
“This is why the Big East Championship is a reasonable facsimile of the NCAA Championship. Taking a step back as far as the game, it was a pretty exciting game,” said Wiese.
Fourth-ranked Georgetown took the lead in the 39th minute. Tyler Rudy played a ball into the box from the right side. Melvin Snoh made a diving header, just getting a piece of the ball, and Andy Reimer was there to poke in the rebound.
It didn't take long for the seventh-ranked Fighting Irish and Finley to find the equalizer. A little more than five minutes into the second half, Harrison Shipp sent a through ball into the area. Luke Mishu played the ball near the end line on the right side and crossed it into the area for Finley to put the finishing touch on.
Early on it seemed apparent the game was headed for overtime, as the two sides both battled evenly for advantage, creating ebbs and flows in the game.
Georgetown took the lead once again, in the 82nd minute. Jimmy Nealis served a ball into the area from the left side. Andy Reimer managed to get a touch on it from the edge of the six yard box, sending it into the right side netting.
The Hoyas’ advantage didn't last long. Just seven minutes later, Danny O'Leary whipped a ball into the penalty area and Nick Besler got above the crowd on the edge of the six yard box to send a header into the net, tying it up and sending it to overtime, the second of the weekend's three contests to go to sudden death.
The Hoyas got a scare on two fronts in the 92nd minute, as Dillon Powers crossed the ball into the area, which Georgetown goalkeeper Tomas Gomez charged out to cover up as O'Leary came charging in.
The Irish attacker apparently clipped Gomez on the head, causing some bleeding, which forced a short substitution, sending back up goalkeeper Keon Parsa into the net briefly while Gomez was tended to on the bench. Parsa was only in the game four minutes, before Gomez returned.
For a moment in the first half, the Hoyas thought they had taken a two-goal lead. Just two minutes after scoring, Tyler Rudy put the ball in the back of the net off a corner kick, but the goal was called back for a foul. Two minutes later, Rudy sent a ball caroming off the crossbar.
Likewise after their first goal, Notre Dame almost had a chance at another. In the 53rd minute, Shipp played a ball through to Finley, who got in on a breakaway. Hoyas defender Tommy Muller caught up with Finley and managed to get a foot in to block his shot.
Gomez made a brilliant save on a shot by Finley in the 58th minute, keeping the score tied at one. Finley received a yellow card in the 62nd minute. The Notre Dame forward was coming in on a breakaway, felt some contact near the edge of the box and went down, drawing a yellow card for simulation from referee Hilario Grajeda.
The title gives Notre Dame the Big East's automatic bid into the NCAA Men's Tournament. Georgetown, along with other conference semifinalists Marquette and Connecticut, are also expected to be high seeds when the selections are announced on Monday.