Oct. 10, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senior All-America forward/Hermann Trophy candidate Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas/Allen) and freshman midfielder Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano West) each registered a goal and an assist as top-ranked Notre Dame stretched its season-opening winning streak to 13 games with a 3-1 BIG EAST Conference victory over No. 17/16 Georgetown on Friday afternoon at North Kehoe Field in Washington, D.C. The Irish also extended their current streak of three-goal games to six in a row while earning their fifth win over a ranked opponent this year.
Freshman forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) added her 10th goal of the season, while sophomore defender Julie Scheidler (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard) celebrated her 20th birthday in style with an assist on Henderson’s score. Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) got the win between the pipes for Notre Dame, turning aside three shots.
The win was particularly encouraging, as it came at a place that has been troubling for Notre Dame in recent years. The previous three series games all had been decided by one goal, including Georgetown’s first win (4-3) over the Irish in 2002. The Hoyas also entered Friday’s game with an unbeaten overall record (now 8-1-2) and an unblemished BIG EAST ledger (now 3-1-0), while rising to their best-ever ranking thanks to the best start in school history. However, GU was coming off an unscheduled 11-day layoff due to a viral outbreak on its campus that struck several members of the Hoyas’ roster.
Notre Dame (13-0-0, 6-0-0) tallied an 18-6 shot advantage over Georgetown, including a 10-4 margin in shots on goal. The Irish also took all 10 corner kicks in the contest, marking the third consecutive game that Notre Dame did not allow a opponent corner kick. The foul count also was fairly even, with the Irish whistled for nine infractions to six for the hosts.
“This was a good win for us against a strong opponent in a hostile environment,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “I would have liked to see us do a bit better job of finishing our chances, especially in the second half. But, I thought we answered their challenges well and kept our composure and focus in a place that really has been tough for us over the years.”
The game started fairly even, with both sides having a look at goal in the first 10 minutes. The Irish would be the first to break through in the 13th minute, as senior All-America forward/Hermann Trophy candidate Brittany Bock (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) was taken down in the penalty area. Hanks stepped up and fired the ensuing penalty kick past Georgetown goalkeeper Jackie DesJardins, who never even moved. Hanks’ goal at 12:29 was her 13th score of the season and moved her current goal-scoring streak to seven games, with Friday marking her third consecutive game with a PK goal.
With her three points on Friday, Hanks also rose three spots into a tie for 10th place on the NCAA Division I career points list with 216 markers (77G-62A), pulling even with former Penn State standout Christie Welsh. In addition, Hanks drew even with North Carolina’s Robin Confer for 22nd place on the Division I all-time goals chart, with her 77 goals only three shy of the Notre Dame record set by Jenny Heft from 1996-99.
Boosted by a raucous crowd, Georgetown came right back. Samantha Baker threatened the Irish penalty area throughout the day with her lengthy throw-ins, and it paid dividends for the host team at 16:29, as Baker’s throw sailed to the near post, where Stephanie Zare was camped out and rose above the crowd to nod a shot to the far post.
As was the case five days earlier against Marquette, Notre Dame wasted almost no time in getting that goal back, needing just 89 seconds to regain the lead, this time for good. After a flurry in the box that included a shot by Henderson, the Georgetown defense cleared the ball to the edge of the offensive third, where Scheidler trapped the loose ball and chipped it back into the area. As Henderson raced back on-side, Barg outleaped her defender near the penalty spot and flicked a header to Henderson on the left wing. Henderson quickly settled the flick and snapped off a low shot to the far post from six yards out under a diving DesJardins at 17:58. The Georgetown coaches and fans hollered in vain for an offside call (which was negated when Barg got her head on the Scheidler chip), but the protracted argument was enough to merit a yellow card for Hoyas head coach Dave Nolan, who was particularly animated in his protests.
Notre Dame had a handful of additional chances later in the first half, with sophomore forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) chipping for sophomore midfielder Erica Iantorno (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale) at the right edge of the box, and Iantorno crossing back for junior forward Michele Weissenhofer (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley), but the unmarked Weissenhofer couldn’t find the range with a full volley from 12 yards out (41:12). Just over a minute later, senior midfielder Rebecca Mendoza (Garland, Texas/North Garland) struck a hard low shot from inside the area, but DesJardins went down to make an excellent close-range save (42:28), and freshman midfielder Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa’s Academy) sent a header just wide left off a Weissenhofer corner kick with 1:35 left in the period.
Halftime proved to be more adventurous than normal for Georgetown, as Nolan continued his vocal displeasure with the officiating, and the game bureaucracy finally had enough, showing the GU coach his second yellow card (resulting in a red-card ejection).
The Irish stormed out of the intermission with a purpose and got the all-important insurance goal just over five minutes into the second half. Henderson started the sequence with a pass out to Hanks in the right channel of the offensive third. In turn, Hanks delivered a clever through-ball that found Barg in stride behind the Georgetown defense and in alone on DesJardins. With the poise of a wily veteran, Barg effortlessly drilled a sharp daisy cutter under the GU netminder for her second goal of the season at 50:01.
Notre Dame kept up the offensive pressure for a good portion of the second half, with Henderson getting loose on both flanks in the ensuing 10 minutes. Senior defender/co-captain Carrie Dew (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon) nearly found pay dirt for her second consecutive visit to North Kehoe Field, as her flick header off a Hanks corner kick floated toward the far post, only to be knocked down by an alert Georgetown defender (65:23). Weissenhofer also wheeled and fired on her left foot from 20 yards out at the top of the box, but DesJardins was able to smother the knuckling shot headed for the left post (72:13).
The Irish also worked two brilliant combination passing plays in a five-minute span late in the second half, with Weissenhofer involved in both sequences. First, Mendoza sent an entry pass to Weissenhofer, who had her back to goal 30 yards out. The veteran frontliner worked the ball out to the right flank for Iantorno, who was angling her run towards the area, but her right-footed 1-v-1 opportunity went by the boards, or more appropriately, sailing high and wide (74:15). Hanks then took a turn, dropping off a pass to Campbell, who swung the ball out to Weissenhofer on virtually the same angled run as Iantorno, but again, the scoring chance disappeared wide to the right (79:12). Hanks even took another turn at goal herself, working a classic give-and-go with Bock and breaking to the left endline, where she tried a swerving right-footed shot that narrowly missing curling back inside the far right post from a ridiculously acute angle (81:28).
Georgetown had a pair of free kicks from less than 30 yards out in the final 10 minutes, but one attempt was blocked by the Notre Dame defensive wall, while another skipped harmlessly in on Lysander. Caitlin Durkee also wriggled free on the right side of the box in the closing moments, but her crossing attempt from the right end line was snared by Lysander, who was smartly hugging the near post (87:16).
Notre Dame continues its season-long four-game road swing Sunday with a 1 p.m. (ET) game at Villanova. The Wildcats (11-3-0, 4-2-0) are third in the BIG EAST’s National Division, trailing Notre Dame (21 points) and No. 21/14 Rutgers (18 points) after VU’s 3-0 win over DePaul on Friday afternoon.
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame’s 13-0-0 start matches the third-best opening to a season in program history (also achieved in 1996 and 2006); only the 2000 (16-0-0) and 2004 (15-0-0) squads got off to better starts than this year’s Irish club … the Irish have won all five of their games against ranked opponents this year, with four of those victories coming away from home (12-3 total scoring margin in those five Top 25 wins) … Notre Dame extends its unbeaten streak against BIG EAST teams to 44 consecutive games (42-0-2), still the third-longest string in NCAA Division I history (only North Carolina’s 55 and Florida’s 50 in the latter half of the last decade were longer) … the Irish are 15-1-0 all-time against Georgetown, although Friday’s win was their first multi-goal triumph at North Kehoe Field since Oct. 6, 2000 (8-0) … Notre Dame has scored three-plus goals in six consecutive games and eight of their last nine; the school record for consecutive three-goal games in 11 (Oct. 8-Nov. 18, 2005) … the Irish improve to 272-3-1 (.987) all-time when scoring three goals in a game, including a 174-1 (.994) mark since Oct. 6, 1995 … Notre Dame stretched its scoring streak to 38 consecutive games, continuing to close in on the second-longest string in school history (49 from Oct. 24, 2004-Oct. 8, 2006) … for the eighth time in 13 games this season, the Irish scored in the first 20 minutes of play … Hanks is about to move into some tall cotton on the NCAA career goals and points list — her next goal will tie her with U.S. National Team legend (and former North Carolina notable) Kristine Lilly and UNC Greensboro’s Allie Lord for 20th place in that category, while Hanks is three points behind former U.S. National Team great (and former Portland standout) Shannon MacMillan for ninth place on that chart … Hanks (13 goals) and Henderson (10) not only continue to provide an outstanding 1-2 offensive punch at the top of the BIG EAST goalscoring lists, but they also make Notre Dame one of only two schools in the country with two double-digit goalscorers at this point in the season; Michigan State’s Laura Heyboer and Lauren Hill also have crossed the 10-goal threshhold in 2008 … almost overlooked by her seven-game goalscoring streak, Hanks also has an active nine-game point scoring string, which ties for the 10th-longest in school history (Katie Thorlakson had a school-record 14-game run in 2005, while Hanks fashioned 13-game streaks in each of the past two seasons) … Henderson became the 20th Irish freshman to register double-digit goals during her rookie season, and the fourth current Notre Dame player (first since Weissenhofer’s 18 goals in 2006) to do so … Scheidler had one assist in her entire freshman season, but has three assists this year, all in the past six games.