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3. TOURNAMENTS: Lapira leads Irish past DePaul
October 26th, 2006 1:15AM



The Big East Tournament kicked off Wednesday with four first-round men's games, and No. 8 Notre Dame (13-4-2) led the way with a 2-0 win over DePaul.

Junior Joseph Lapira upped his nation-leading scoring totals with a goal and an assist to give him 20 goals and 45 points, which lead all NCAA Division I players.

"I was very happy with how we played tonight," said Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark. "I knew that is was not going to be an easy game for us. We had to show some patience and we did."
U.S. U-20 Rodrigo Hidalgo scored two early goals in the first half hour to lead South Florida (9-5-4) to a 5-1 win over Seton Hall. Shortly after Teddy Niziolek scored for Seton Hall to make it 3-1 in the 63nd minute, the Pirates' comeback bid was snuffed when Christos Zisimatos received a red card.

Freshman Ryan Soroka created havoc in the Pittsburgh half of the field for much of the night and scored on his only shot to lift St. John's (10-5-2) to a 1-0 victory over Pittsburgh. The former U.S. U-17 leads the Red Storm with six goals.

Providence (12-5-0) scored early in the first half and late in the second half to beat Louisville, 2-0. Timothy Ritter and Ryan Maduro scored for the Friars, who improved their chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament. Senior goalkeeper Chris Konopka, who is attracting interest from European clubs,  finished with five saves to earn his sixth shutout of the season.

The Big East Tournament continues Saturday with four quarterfinal games: No. 5 West Virginia vs. South Florida, Rutgers vs. No. 8 Notre Dame, No. 18 Cincinnati vs. Providence and No. 25 Connecticut vs. St. John's.

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