MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The Richard Siegel Soccer Complex is the place where Notre Dame wanted its season to end, but Tuesday isn't the day when the Irish wanted it to happen.
Notre Dame started strong in its first Class A/AA state tournament appearance since 2007, but lost its one-goal lead to David Lipscomb in the second half. The Mustangs, who were making their first-ever state soccer appearance Tuesday evening, then scored twice in the final four minutes to end the Irish's season 3-1 in the quarterfinals.
"That's not the way we wanted this to go," Notre Dame coach Jim Schermerhorn said. "It's always tough to win games in this tournament. We didn't know much about them, but any team you play against is going to be tough. You have to be prepared and ready to play regardless."
The Irish certainly looked well-prepared in the opening period, when Notre Dame controlled much of the early possession. After several scoring opportunities, they converted one with 11:30 remaining in the first half as Tyler Robertson's corner kick hit the frame and bounced down inside the goal to give the Irish a 1-0 lead.
At halftime, with that advantage still intact, Schermerhorn spoke to his team about how important it would be to maintain it. But six minutes into the second period, David Lipscomb equalized when Curtis Hunt headed in a corner from Jackson Boonstra.
"In the first half, I thought we played pretty good," Schermerhorn said. "I thought we had a great chance to win the game when it was 1-0. Then we let a guy get free on the corner, and they seemed to have the momentum after that. I think giving up that first goal was critical."
Both teams battled to break the deadlock over the next 30 minutes, and it was the Mustangs who broke through first. Lipscomb's Reid Weber headed in another ball from Boonstra with 3:08 remaining in the match to put the Irish in a 2-1 hole.
"That was tough," Schermerhorn said. "We changed our formation after that goal, but with three minutes left, it didn't matter."
With the Irish pushing for a equalizer, the Mustangs' Michael Oruma took a ball from Stone Haley and beat the Irish defense for a one-on-one goal with 1:36 on the clock, securing his team's spot in Wednesday's state semifinals. The loss ends the season for District 7 and Region 4 champion Notre Dame at 12-10.
"We got to the tournament we wanted to get to, we just didn't finish the way we wanted," Schermerhorn said. "We wanted to be playing on Friday. We have a lot of seniors on this team, and there are a lot of teary eyes out there. They worked their tails off but just didn't get the result they wanted."
(E-mail Jaime Barrett at firstname.lastname@example.org