Notre Dame tops Maryland to win first NCAA title



Photo by ISIPhotos.com

When Patrick Mullins slotted home the opening goal of Sunday’s NCAA College Cup Final, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looked like a team ready to fall to a Maryland side with a history of winning national championships.

Notre Dame didn’t fold though. The Fighting Irish rallied, tying the match before halftime, and putting away an Andrew O’Malley game-winner in the 60th minute to post a 2-1 victory at PPL Park.

Notre Dame’s Leon Brown helped the Fighting Irish tie things up in the 40th minute when he slotted home a tight-angled shot past Zack Steffen to make the score 1-1 before halftime. A pair of Notre Dame seniors combined on the winning goal, as O’Malley headed home a Harrison Shipp free kick past Steffen.

Notre Dame’s defense helped make O’Malley’s goal stand up, though the match did have its share of controversy. Notre Dame’s Connor Keikota appeared to handle a Maryland cross in the penalty area, but refereee Hilario Grajeda didn’t call a handball.

Grajeda also missed a clear handball on the goal-line by Notre Dame’s Patrick Hodan just before Mullins slotted home the match’s opening goal in the 35th minute. Hodan clearly stuck out his arm to block a goal-bound shot from Alex Shinsky, but Grajeda was screened on the play.

The Terps looked a good bet to enter halftime with the lead, but Notre Dame responded just five minutes after Mullins’ goal with an equalizer started by a Nick Besler header off a long throw-in. Besler’s header found Brown, who muscled off a Maryland defender before sliding a shot past an on-rushing Steffen to make the score 1-1.

Notre Dame’s defense did a good job of limiting Maryland’s chances, with the central midfield tandem of Keikota and Nick Besler controlling the middle of the field.





  • fischy

    Grajeda was horrible and saying he was screened doesn’t cut it. The ARs should have helped. yeah, Mullins got the goal a few seconds later, but Hodan should have gotten a straight red card for his goal-line antic.


    • Dustin Edwards

      If he got the goal then the card should be a yellow card. No goal and a denial means a straight red.


  • ehhh

    absurd for the ref to miss the 1st handball on the goal line . A pen and a sending off that early in the game would have all but shut the door on the Irish. If I were a Maryland fan this would be a tough pill t swallow. If I was on their staff I would be going through every avenue to make sure this ref never called a game of this importance ever again.


  • DC Josh

    Ugh, UMD has a lot of good players in the pipeline, but they are losing some really good seniors. It’s even more frustrating since they won the ACC tournament with Notre Dame dumped out in the semifinals, but they ended up losing to them in the big game. Hopefully Sasho doesn’t go anywhere, and continues to groom the best talent in college.


    • beto

      these two teams, and a couple others, were just loaded with Pro quality players.. its gotten the the point where its not unlike watching the basketball final four where the best teams in the country are probably going to lose 50% or more of their best players to first round draft picks (or in MLS a handful of HGP contracts). In basketball and soccer these big time programs just have to get used to reloading every year.

      Pat Mullins looks like a great 1st overall pick.


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