Notre Dame Irish advance with penalty kicks in soccer match

Notre Dame Irish advance with penalty kicks in soccer match

May 11th, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sports - Preps

Mark Koenig

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

There must be something to the Notre Dame soccer team having a little Irish luck.

The Irish won the District 7-A/AA championship at Chattanooga Christian on Thursday night by advancing from a tie game on penalty kicks.

Two of their kicks drew iron but still crossed the line and counted as goals. CCS had one of its penalty kicks hit the post and roll into the arms of goalkeeper Tim Barnes.

"It's got to be Irish luck," Barnes said.

The teams played to a 1-1 draw through regulation. Notre Dame will host a Region 4 semifinal on Tuesday while CCS will travel for its semifinal.

Notre Dame scored seven minutes in when Mark Koenig redirected a free kick by Brian Delany. The Chargers scored 13 minutes into the second half when Carson Whitmore bounced in a header in traffic on a pass from Will Taylor.

"From the second half on, our boys played well enough to win," CCS coach Shawn Brower said. "We had enough dangerous plays to win. But Notre Dame defends well."

Both teams had sets plays in overtime and in sudden-death overtime. But none resulted in goals, sending the game to penalty kicks.

CCS shot first and got good PKs from Whitmore and Porter Black. The Irish matched with Blaise DiStefano, glancing his shot off the left post and in, and Koenig.

Barnes saved CCS's third shot. Then Nick McGirl glanced his off the crossbar and down across the line before it spun out for a 3-2 Notre Dame lead.

CCS missed its fourth shot, leaving the Irish two chances to win. They needed just one. Wes Blanton blasted the winning shot into the right of the net.

"Our defense paid off in the game," said Blanton, who had scored a goal along with Tyler Robertson and Delany in Tuesday's 3-1 win over Signal Mountain. "Then I knew I had to hit my shot hard and put it on target."

That took skill.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6484.