Aug. 28, 2011
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Senior midfielder Brynn Gerstle (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) staked No. 1/2 Notre Dame to a 1-0 lead with her first career goal midway through the first half, but No. 21/10 Duke came back with three second-half goals in less than 12 minutes to claim a 3-1 victory over the Fighting Irish on Sunday afternoon during the final round of the Carolina Classic at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Blue Devils’ second-half rally resulted in a rare second consecutive loss for Notre Dame (both at the hands of top-10 opponents). The last time the Fighting Irish had lost back-to-back matches came nearly two seasons ago, dating back to a pair of 2-0 defeats at Santa Clara and versus third-ranked Stanford (at Santa Clara) on Sept. 11 & 13, 2009.
Duke (4-0) finished with a 15-11 edge in total shots, including a 9-2 advantage in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish earned six of the seven corner kicks on the afternoon, while the Blue Devils were whistled for 11 of 20 fouls and all three offsides calls. Notre Dame received both yellow cards in the match, each of which was assessed to freshman defender Taylor Schneider (Southlake, Texas/Carroll Senior) who was sent off with her second booking in the 83rd minute.
Freshman goalkeeper Sarah Voigt (Middleburg, Fla./St. John’s Country Day School) did all she could to keep the Fighting Irish in the match, recording six saves in going the distance for the second consecutive outing. Duke netminder Tara Campbell made one save during her 90-minute effort.
“Full credit to Duke — we just got totally outplayed today,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We didn’t show up ready to play, and with the kind of schedule we’re playing, you just can’t afford to do that and expect to get any kind of positive result. But rest assured, we’ll go back and make adjustments and be ready to go next Friday against a very good Tulsa side.”
Notre Dame (1-2) took the lead at 25:03 off a highly-unusual play. Campbell came off her line to try and clear a ball on the offensive left side (her right side) of the penalty area. However, her clearance caromed directly off Gerstle’s face and quickly rolled back into the empty net before the Duke defense could recover.
Voigt made three saves in the first half as the Fighting Irish had their 1-0 lead going into the locker room. The shot totals were virtually even in the opening 45 minutes (6-5 to Duke, including a 3-2 edge in shots on goal).
The Blue Devils pressured Notre Dame almost from the start of the second half and that eventually paid off at 62:46. Mollie Pathman laid off a pass on the left side to Laura Weinberg and from just inside the box, she fired a 16-yard shot that tucked inside the far post.
Duke took the lead for good less than four minutes later, thanks to a terrific individual effort by Kelly Cobb. The Blue Devil freshman picked up a pass on the right side at midfield, beat her defender down the sideline and then angled to the top of the box before uncorking a rising blast that tucked neatly under the crossbar (66:18).
With Notre Dame now pushing forward in search of the equalizer, Duke iced its comeback with a third goal in the 75th minute. Callie Simpkins served a long ball from the right channel that pinballed through the Fighting Irish defense and caromed fortuitously to Chelsea Canepa, who was camped on the left side of the six-yard box. Canepa quickly settled the ball and drove a hard shot into the back of the net (74:05).
The Fighting Irish had a handful of chances to pull a goal back in the closing quarter-hour, most notably when senior All-America forward/tri-captain Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) saw her re-directed volley from 10 yards out beat Campbell, but trickle inches wide of the right post.
Notre Dame will be back home on Friday when it plays host to Tulsa at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on the first night of the Notre Dame adidas Invitational at Alumni Stadium. Western Michigan and Indiana will play the tournament opener at 5 p.m. (ET), before the matchups reverse on Sunday (WMU-Tulsa at 11 a.m.; Notre Dame-Indiana at 1:30 p.m.). A free live webcast, as well as live stats and a live interactive chat for both Notre Dame matches during next weekend’s tournament will be available on the official Fighting Irish athletics web site, www.UND.com and the new Irish UNDerground blog (www.UND.com/blog), while tickets are on sale by calling (574) 631-7356 or going on-line to www.UND.com/tickets.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, join the Fighting Irish women’s soccer news Twitter page (@NDsoccernews) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women’s soccer page at UND.com.
— ND —
POST MATCH NOTES: Notre Dame had not lost consecutive matches since Sept. 11 & 13, 2009, when it dropped identical 2-0 decisions at Santa Clara and against #3 Stanford at the Santa Clara adidas Classic … the Fighting Irish last suffered consecutive defeats to top-10 opponents on Sept. 7 & 9, 2007, when #3 Santa Clara (7-1) and #5 Stanford (2-1, OT) knocked off Notre Dame — both in 2007 and 2009, the Fighting Irish bounced back to reach the NCAA Women’s College Cup … entering this weekend’s tournament, Notre Dame had lost only once in seven all-time matches at North Carolina’s Fetzer Field, and were 3-1 in two prior trips to the Carolina Classic … Sunday’s loss snapped an eight-game unbeaten streak for the Fighting Irish against Duke, with the Blue Devils downing Notre Dame for the first time since Sept. 25, 1992 (a 2-1 setback at old Alumni Field in South Bend) … the Fighting Irish allowed three goals in a match for the first time since Sept. 4, 2009 (a 6-0 loss to top-ranked North Carolina at Alumni Stadium) … Notre Dame suffered its first loss when leading at halftime since Dec. 7, 2008, when North Carolina scored twice in the second half of the NCAA national championship match to pull out a 2-1 win … Gerstle was the second Fighting Irish upperclass player in as many matches to score her first collegiate goal, after junior defender Jazmin Hall opened her account in Friday’s overtime loss to UNC.