Filed By Jaime Lackey
In recent years, Baylor-Notre Dame soccer matches have helped determined which teams from the Division II East Region would advance to the state tournament.
When the teams met Tuesday night at Baylor, the only thing truly at stake was pride.
That’s no small thing, as evidenced by several scuffles that broke out during the physical game, but for the first time in a long time, the teams weren’t battling for posteason position.
Notre Dame, playing in Class A/AA for the first time since 1997, has already clinched the District 6 regular-season title. Baylor is awaiting the outcome of Friday’s game between McCallie and Knox Webb to find out where it will be seeded in D-II East, but with Notre Dame and Knox Catholic’s departure leaving it a four-team region, the Red Raiders are practically assured of a state berth.
None of this diminished the intensity of Tuesday night’s game. Both team’s keepers had given up just six goals all season, but Baylor’s Breck Farrell and Notre Dame’s Mike Long each allowed two as the match ended in a tie.
Both are seniors in their first year starting in goal, but for Farrell, it’s also his first time playing keeper. He moved from the midfield to fill in for injured sophomore Danny Van Valkinburgh who’s out for the season, but Farrell’s injury with 10 minutes left against Notre Dame sent third-string keeper Rodolfo Corcuera into the game.
Judging from the two stops Corcuera made to preserve the tie, the Red Raiders should be fine if Farrell misses any more playing time.
Baylor is 6-2-4 and ranked seventh in D-II, and the 10-2-1 Irish are the state’s No. 2 A/AA team. Notre Dame has a showdown with No. 4 Knox Catholic on Thursday night, one of its six games in a seven-day stretch.
Both teams are playing well as the postseason approaches, and the former region rivals should both be in Murfreesboro when their respective state tournaments begin May 24.
E-mail Jaime Lackey at firstname.lastname@example.org