Notre Dame captures NCAA soccer title at PPL Park

West Chester native Andrew O'Malley enjoyed the homecoming of a lifetime.

O'Malley's header off a Harrison Shipp free kick in the 60th minute provided the difference in Notre Dame's 2-1 win over Maryland in the NCAA College Cup final on Sunday at PPL Park in Chester.

"It's kind of how anybody would have wanted to end his senior year," said O'Malley, a defender who attended the Salesianum School in Delaware and was named to the all-tournament team.

Maryland keeper Zack Steffen, a freshman from Downingtown West who was named the most outstanding defensive player of the tournament, had little chance to make the save.

"It is pretty much a reaction save - you are almost lucky if you save it," Steffen said. "He had a good header."

It was the first NCAA men's soccer title for third-seeded Notre Dame (17-1-6).

As for Shipp, it continued his dominance. In Friday's 2-0 win over New Mexico, he had assists on both goals. Shipp was named the most outstanding offensive player in the tournament.

"The ball he served was fantastic," O'Malley said. "He served it right up on a silver platter for me."

After O'Malley's goal, fifth-seeded Maryland (17-4-5) continued to apply the pressure. In the 67th minute, an apparent hand ball by the Fighting Irish inside the box was not called.

Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski said he would reserve judgment on the call until seeing the replay.

"I think once I review it I am sure I will be hurting a little more," he said.

Maryland's Patrick Mullins got the Terrapins on the board with a goal in the 35th minute.

The play started on a corner kick by Tsubasa Endoh. With a scramble in the box, Maryland's Alex Shinsky sent a shot on goal that was blocked by Patrick Hodan. (No hand ball was called, although it should have been.)

Mullins got possession and shot from 12 yards out for his 19th goal of the season.

Mullins admitted that he should have been called for a hand ball and was disappointed in himself after making that play.

"In the heat of the moment, I hit it down with my hand," Mullins said.

The Fighting Irish tied it on a goal by reserve Leon Brown in the 40th minute. Brown was replacing Vince Cicciarelli, who broke his collarbone early in the game.

Luke Mishu started the play with a throw-in to Nick Besler, who headed it to Brown. Brown one-timed it from an extreme angle in front of the goal for his fifth and biggest goal of the season.

 


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