This weekend, PPL Park hosted the 2012 Big East men’s soccer championships.
No. 7 Notre Dame came out on top winning, 3-2 in double overtime over No. 4 ranked Georgetown in Sunday's final.
PPL Park hosted the event due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy and its impact on Red Bull Arena, who was unavailable to host the event.
The Fighting Irish (16-3-1) took control of action early on in the game, but were unable to beat Georgetown (17-3-1) sophomore goalkeeper Tomas Gomez. Georgetown settled down and play evened out between the sides. In the 39th minute Hoyas senior Andy Riemer opened the scoring after he headed a cross from sophomore Tyler Rudy.
In the second half, Notre Dame senior Ryan Finely equalized when he finished a cross from junior Luke Mishu just inside the penalty area in the 51st minute. The game continued with good chances for both teams until the 82nd minute when senior Jimmy Nealis crossed it to Riemer to put Georgetown up, 2-1. In the 90th minute, Notre Dame sophomore Nick Besler scored via a pass from senior Danny O’Leary to send the game into overtime. The game remained tied until late in the second half of overtime when Notre Dame received a corner. This led to the game winning goal in the 109th minute on when Powers crossed the corner to Finley who put it into the back of the net to win the championship.
To get Sunday's championship match, Notre Dame knocked off top-seeded Connecticut, 1-0 in the nightcap after a goal from junior Alex Priede in the 11th minute secured a berth into the final.Also Friday night Georgetown defeated Marquette (16-3-1) 2-1 in overtime kickstarted by a goal from junior and Philadelphia Union season ticket holder Steve Neumann, who took a cross from Nealis and scored with 23 seconds remaining in the first half to put Georgetown ahead, 1-0. Marquette tied the game in the 57th minute when junior Adam Lysak worked a perfect one-two ball with junior Bryan Ciesiulka and shot it just inside to penalty area. The game remained tied until late in the second half of overtime when Georgetown received a corner. Neumann took the corner, which found Tommy Muller (Senior) who headed it to Big East Rookie of the Year Brandon Allen (Freshman) who put it into the back of the net to give Georgetown the win and a trip to the final on Sunday.
While Marquette came up short in the thriller, Golden Eagles goalkeeper Charlie Lyon still raved the experience.
“To step into an MLS stadium...it's a place were we all want to be someday," Lyon said. It was something special.”
Marquette head coach Louis Bennett added, “It’s a great surface and a great stadium, it was great to have the event such a fantastic facility."
Georgetown’s Steve Neumann said “It was great, I actually have season tickets to the Philadelphia Union so I am used to being around the stadium. It’s just how I imagined it.
College soccer returns to PPL Park in 2013, when Villanova University hosts 2013 Men’s College Cup on Dec. 13 and Dec. 15.
"We are thrilled to have been selected by the NCAA as the host institution for the 2013 College Cup," stated Villanova director of athletics Vince Nicastro in May. "PPL Park is the finest soccer facility of its kind in the nation and together we have forged a partnership with the leadership of the Philadelphia Union and the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau that will allow us to create a first class experience for the fans attending this outstanding event. This is an exciting opportunity for all of us in the Philadelphia region and we look forward to serving as host."