NATIONAL CHAMPIONS! Notre Dame Claims First NCAA Crown

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS! Notre Dame Claims First NCAA Crown

Sunday December 15, 2013

 

  • Notre Dame rallied past Maryland for a 2-1 victory in the 2013 NCAA Men's Soccer College Cup final. The win gives the Irish their first ever national championship. 
  • For ACC Men's Soccer, the crown represents the league sixth in the last nine years and 16th overall.

 

Irish Down Terps To Win NCAA Title, 2-1; Notre Dame claims its first NCAA men's soccer title.

CHESTER, Pa. (UND.com & AP) -- Confetti rained down, the Notre Dame fight song "Victory March" blasted on the loudspeakers and everyone on the Fighting Irish's soccer team ran to one side of the field to celebrate. 

For the first time in the school's proud athletic history, Notre Dame was on top of the men's college soccer world. 

Led by goals from Andrew O'Malley and Leon Brown, and another big game from College Cup co-Most Outstanding Player Harrison Shipp, Notre Dame won its first men's soccer title with a 2-1 victory over Maryland on Sunday at PPL Park. The Fighting Irish finished the season 17-1-6. 

"We're all smiling big smiles," said 68-year-old coach Bobby Clark, who won his first title in 27 years coaching at Dartmouth, Stanford and Notre Dame. 

Patrick Mullins, the nation's leading scorer, scored for Maryland (17-4-5). The Terrapins were trying to win their fourth national championship and third under coach Sasho Cirovski. 

Shipp, a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy as the nation's best player, set up O'Malley's winning goal with a perfectly placed free kick in the 60th minute. O'Malley leaped for Shipp's kick and directed a header past goalkeeper Zack Steffen's outstretched arms. 

Coming into Sunday's title game, O'Malley, a senior defender, had scored just twice in his collegiate career - and, according to Clark, he missed a couple of chances throughout the season. 

But he didn't miss when it counted. 

O'Malley, from nearby West Chester, said it was extra special to score the championship-deciding goal in front of many of his family and friends, who made the short commute to watch him play at PPL Park. 

Brown tied it at 1-1 in the 40th minute with a tough-angle shot. He entered the game as a reserve when Vince Cicciarelli was forced to leave when he broke his collarbone in the 10th minute. 

Luke Mishu and Nick Besler were both credited with assists after Besler flicked on a long Mishu throw-in right to the foot of Brown, who slid a tough-angle shot past Steffen. 

Mullins, Maryland's own Hermann Trophy finalist, opened the scoring for the Terrapins in the 35th minute. 

Moments earlier, Mullins thought a penalty kick was warranted when a volley from Alex Shinksy from cleared off the goal line by what looked to be the arm of Notre Dame's Patrick Hodan. But Hodan was not called for the hand ball and then Mullins used his own hand to bring the ball down and deposit a shot past goalkeeper Patrick Wall.  

Mullins, who shared College Cup Most Outstanding Player honors with Shipp, had 19 goals this season and finished his college career with 47, second in program history. 

But for Cirovski, it was the character Mullins displayed in admitting to an intentional hand ball that shows what MLS teams will be getting when Mullins, a senior, is likely selected as one of the top picks in next month's draft. 

For Shipp - who finished his senior season with 12 goals and 11 assists, including three in the College Cup - it was not only gratifying to win a national title but to do so for Clark.