Oct. 5, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Junior midfielder/tri-captain Cari Roccaro (East Islip, New York/East Islip) scored an unassisted goal with 6:01 left in regulation to bring the No. 14/10 University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team even, but Virginia’s Brittany Ratcliffe answered by scoring the game-winning goal with 21 seconds remaining to give the No. 4/5 Cavaliers a 2-1 win over the Fighting Irish in Atlantic Coast Conference play on a sunny and chilly Sunday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.
Virginia (11-1, 3-1 ACC) extended its series lead during regular season matches against Notre Dame (7-4-1, 2-2 ACC) to a perfect 3-0, winning in its inaugural trip to South Bend. The Cavaliers finished with a 19-6 edge in total shots, as well as an 11-4 margin in shots on goal and a 10-2 spread on corner kicks.
“We’ve played some tough teams at home,” Notre Dame head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “I think Virginia is one of the best teams we’ve seen this year, so it gave us a great taste of what a final four game would be like. I think we learned some good lessons today.”
Roccaro sent shock waves through the Alumni Stadium crowd with a sensational tying goal, rocketing a 30-yard shot from the center of the pitch into the left side netting for her first goal of the season to bring Notre Dame level in the 84th minute.
“Cari scored a great goal to get us back into the game,” Romagnolo said. “She saw the opening and she took it. It was a great finish.
“We put Cari at the attacking mid position, she saw the hole and took the space,” Romagnolo added. “Something we have been talking about recently is getting her moments to join the attack. Cari is someone who can score, and can send good attacking passes to get someone in to goal.”
The Cavaliers did not play for overtime in the 90th minute, as Makenzy Doniak made a nice move into the left side of the box before rifling a hard right-footed shot that was parried away by Notre Dame sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little (Tulsa, Oklahoma/Bishop Kelley). Ratcliffe was on the scene to deposit the rebound into the empty net from eight yards out for the game-winning goal.
“I think the one thing we need to work on is finishing games,” Roccaro said. “We ended up tying it up with about five minutes left, and we got scored on with 20 seconds left. The game’s not over until the clock runs out, and I think our team needs to remember that and fight until we finish.”
Virginia opened the scoring in the 53rd minute, as Morgan Brian intercepted a pass in the Fighting Irish half of the field, raced toward the top left of the penalty area, then cut back around her defender before driving a shot high into the upper left corner of the goal for a 1-0 Cavalier lead.
The Virginia goal seemed to ignite the Notre Dame offense, as the Fighting Irish began to turn up the pressure in the attacking third. Junior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson (Davis, California/Davis) started a run down the right flank in the 59th minute, sending a cross into the box in the vicinity of senior forward Karin Simonian (Westbury, New York/W.T. Clarke). Simonian was unable to make a solid strike on the pass, and Virginia goalkeeper Morgan Stearns made the save.
Simonian broke free once more during the 76th minute after a great through ball sprung her on the run to the left side of the box. Simonian’s blast from in close was turned away by Stearns to halt another Notre Dame surge.
Both teams battled for the first shot of the contest into the 12th minute before Brian connected on a shot in close that was deflected over the cross bar by the Notre Dame defense. A soft header on a subsequent Danielle Colaprico corner kick by Virginia’s Emily Sonnett floated right to Little in the six-yard box.
Little was solid once again in the Fighting Irish net, tying a career-high with nine saves, while her Virginia counterpart Stearns collected three saves in the victory.
Notre Dame logged its first shot of the contest in the 18th minute, after Simonian sent a cross to the top of the box that junior midfielder Glory Williams (Dallas, Texas/Lake Highlands) sent in low toward frame. Stearns was able to field the ball on the roll for a Virginia save.
Simonian had a second nice chance during the opening half in the 22nd minute, sending a left-footed strike that Stearns pushed wide of the post to force a Fighting Irish corner. Virginia ultimately cleared the zone on the corner attempt to turn back the Notre Dame offensive.
Notre Dame heads back on the road Thursday when it travels to Pittsburgh for a 7 p.m. (ET) ACC match against the Panthers. The Fighting Irish then return home on Oct. 12 for a noon (ET) conference contest against Miami (Fla.) at Alumni Stadium.
To purchase a season pass or single-match tickets for the 2014 Notre Dame women’s soccer season, call the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356, visit the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets or stop by the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office windows during normal business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday). Tickets also can be purchased at Alumni Stadium on match days.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women’s soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDSoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
#4/5 Virginia 2, #14/10 Notre Dame 1
Oct. 5, 2014
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
Virginia 0 2 – 2
Notre Dame 0 1 – 1
VA 1. Morgan Brian 4 (-) 52:13. ND 1. Cari Roccaro 1 (-) 83:59. VA 2. Brittany Ratcliffe 6 (Makenzy Doniak) 89:39.
Total Shots: VA 19 (11-8), ND 6 (3-3)
Shots on Goal: VA 11 (5-6), ND 4 (1-3)
Saves: VA 3 (Morgan Stearns 3 in 90:00), ND 9 (Kaela Little 9 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: VA 10 (6-4), ND 2 (1-1)
Fouls: VA 13 (5-8), ND 9 (5-4)
Offsides: VA 1, ND 2
Records: VA 11-1, 3-1 ACC; ND 7-4-1, 2-2 ACC
Next for ND: At Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (ET) Oct. 9 at Ambrose Urbanic Field.