Aug. 31, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
The Aztecs struggled to find their offensive rhythm in the first half, but Kody Duff provided San Diego State the boost it needed in the 25th minute when he fired a shot that sailed high. Less than a minute later, however, SDSU gave the ball away on its own side of the field and Notre Dame's Harrison Shipp took advantage as he connected on a blast from 17 yards out.
Over the next four-plus minutes, San Diego State settled down and controlled the tempo as they earned a pair of corner kicks. The second corner gave the Aztecs their best opportunity when Morgan Sacco sailed one into the box that ultimately found Casey Meuser. The junior's header, unfortunately, went high.
With SDSU clicking on offense, the Aztecs kept the pressure on the Irish and their persistence paid off in the 38th minute when Robbie Freise found Jordan Ongaro. Freise, from Canyon Country, Calif., sent a ball in and Ongaro headed the ball past UND goalkeeper Will Walsh.
San Diego State continued to stifle the Notre Dame attack in the second half with the score tied at 1-1. Meuser tallied the first shot of the period in the 55th minute, but it went high. The Aztecs prevented the Fighting Irish from attempting a shot for the first 15 minutes of the second half, but Ryan Finley disrupted SDSU's effort and scored on a run up the middle to give Notre Dame a 2-1 lead.
Despite the setback, the Aztecs continued on and San Diego native Travis Nicklaw nearly leveled the score exactly six minutes later when his header hit the crossbar. Over the next 12 minutes, Notre Dame attempted a handful of shots, each of which SDSU goalkeeper Blake Hylen (seven saves) turned away to keep the Aztecs within striking distance.
In the 81st minute, Kevin Bick put one on net in an effort to tie the score, but was turned away by Walsh. And then 75 seconds later, Finley broke away from an Aztec defender and notched his second goal of the game. Both of Finley's goals were assisted by Shipp.
Much like it had all evening, San Diego State continued to fight and was rewarded just minutes later when Blake Wise sent a service into the box where Meuser was waiting and knocked in his header.
The Aztecs kept forcing the issue, trailing 3-2, and had two corner-kick opportunities in the final 1:17. The first corner resulted in Wise's shot being blocked, but SDSU earned another corner with 45 seconds remaining. Jose Altamirano's second corner, however, did not produce a shot as time ran out on the Aztecs' furious rally.
Meuser led the offensive attack for San Diego State as he finished with three shots. Six of his teammates each tallied one shot apiece as the Aztecs finished with nine shots total. For the game, Notre Dame held a 15-9 advantage in shots, but finished with a slim, 7-6, margin in the second half. SDSU, meanwhile, earned five corner kicks to the Fighting Irish's three.
San Diego State returns to the pitch on Sunday when it faces No. 10/8/8 Indiana at 2 p.m. ET. The fixture will be streamed live on BTN.com.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Casey Meuser was named Man of the Match for his effort vs. nationally ranked Notre Dame. A native of Granite Bay, Calif., the midfielder scored his first goal of the campaign and led the Aztecs with three shots in 77 starting minutes. Meuser continually forced Notre Dame to keep an eye on him at all times as each of his shots were threatening attempts. In addition to his offensive prowess, the junior played an integral role in keeping UND off the scoreboard for nearly 35 minutes, which kept the Scarlet and Black in the game.