published Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Irish nips Pioneers with trump Card

Shooters have to have a short memory, be it as a gunner on a basketball court or a goal scorer in soccer. They can't get consumed by their last miss.

Luckily for the Notre Dame boys' soccer team, Baggio Card is a shooter with a short memory.

Card scored the winning goal in the 102nd minute Saturday, propelling the Irish to a 3-2 victory over East Ridge in a Class A/AA state sectional. That puts Notre Dame (9-8-2) in its second consecutive state tournament Tuesday in Murfreesboro.

Card had missed a couple of point-blank opportunities, including one in the waning seconds of the second overtime.

"I knew when I missed that last shot that I had to redeem myself," he said. "I saw the ball was going over the defender's head, and I was going to have some open space. I knew I could beat my guy one-on-one and got myself a pretty open shot."

The physical match finished 2-all in regulation. Christian Colvard put the Irish up in the 31st minute with an assist from Card, but the Pioneers' Tad Whitaker was fouled in the box minutes later and netted a penalty kick to tie the match going into halftime.

Colvard scored the Irish's second goal in the 62nd minute, after Card had set him up again. Colvard missed the first header attempt but got a second opportunity and was able to push a shot through. Again, though, the lead lasted only a few minutes, as Razim Kazic fed Whitaker for the equalizer.

"East Ridge is a good team. They gave us all that we could handle," Notre Dame coach Jim Schermerhorn said. "We were kind of in panic mode during the match. We couldn't settle down and play how we should."

The Irish missed about three opportunities in front of the net in addition to Card's misses. The Pioneers (13-4-2) had their chances, too.

Emotional East Ridge coach Jeremy McIntyre realized how close his team was to advancing to the state for the first time in school history. Saturday was the program's second state sectional.

"We had an incredible, dream season," he said. "I told the guys they needed to leave the field with their heads held high. They left it all on the field tonight.

"I don't think of them as players. I think of them as my friends."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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