Sept. 12, 2010
LOS ANGELES – Junior forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) scored just 71 seconds into Sunday’s match at Loyola Marymount, and No. 3/4 Notre Dame made it stand up, as the Fighting Irish rebounded from their first loss of the season with a 1-0 victory over the Lions on the second day of the UCLA Women’s Cup at Sullivan Field in Los Angeles.
Henderson netted her third goal of the season (all gamewinning tallies) at the 1:11 mark of the first half, cutting into the penalty area and volleying a right-side cross from senior defender Julie Scheidler (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard) into the upper right side of the net from 12 yards out.
Senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) made four saves, two in each half, to post her fifth solo shutout in six matches this season. Lions netminder Brittany Jagger largely kept her team in the running after the early score, finishing with nine saves and also benefitting from a timely team save by LMU defender Etajha Gilmer with less than seven minutes to go in the first half.
Notre Dame (5-1) outshot Loyola Marymount, 17-7, in the contest, including an 11-4 edge in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also earned four of the five corner kicks on the day, while LMU (4-2) held a slight 9-8 lead in fouls called.
“This was an important win for us on the road and coming off the disappointment of Friday’s overtime loss at UCLA,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “Melissa’s early goal really got us off on the right foot, and we had some chances to add to the lead in the first half, but we need to do a better job of possessing in the final third and finishing those chances off. They (LMU) put some pressure on our back line in the second half when they pushed up a third forward, but we met that challenge and we’re pleased to get back in the win column with our conference opener coming up next weekend.”
The Fighting Irish had the added task of playing against a well-rested Lions squad that had its tournament opener against UC Santa Barbara on Friday cancelled when UCLA failed to schedule officials for that contest. Yet, it was Notre Dame that was the aggressor for much of the first half, outshooting LMU, 10-3 (with an 8-2 edge in shots on goal) in the opening 45 minutes.
Following Henderson’s goal, the Fighting Irish got a good look in the 13th minute, as senior forward Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) sent a blast from the top left of the box that Jaggers did well to knock down at the left post. Senior forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) collected the rebound at the edge of the six-yard area, but her sharp-angle shot also was stopped by Jaggers.
At the half-hour mark, Henderson slipped a precision through-ball in the right channel to freshman forward Adriana Leon (Maple, Ontario/The Country Day School), but the Canadian’s shot from 10 yards out was blocked away by a charging Jaggers.
With under seven minutes to go in the first half, the Fighting Irish had their best opportunity to double the lead, as Augustin’s corner kick curled into a pack of players near the penalty spot. The ball eventually found its way to junior defender/co-captain Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West), whose eight-yard shot was ticketed for the low left corner of the goal before Gilmer stuck out a foot and made a reflex kick save to clear the ball off the line.
Notre Dame’s final chance of the first half came with 1:45 left, when sophomore midfielder Jordan Snyder (Dallas, Texas/Ursuline Academy) saw Jaggers inching out of her net and tried to beat her with a long ball from 35 yards out. However, Jaggers backpedaled well and was able to leap and tip the shot over the bar.
The Fighting Irish kept the pressure on in the early stages of the second half, with Henderson crossing a ball from the left wing to junior midfielder Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa’s Academy), but she didn’t get full power on her left-footed shot from 10 yards out and Jaggers was able to dive and make the save at the left post (54:30).
LMU had a solid chance just 90 seconds later, as Rachel Fell’s free kick from the right channel skipped through traffic towards the left post, but Weiss tracked it all the way and was able to get down for the stop.
Midway through the second half, Augustin and Henderson nearly created another of their frequent scoring combinations this season, as Augustin found Henderson with an angled pass near the top of the box. Henderson then spun off her left shoulder and cracked a rising 12-yard shot, but it disappeared right into the waiting arms of Jagger.
With 20 minutes to play, Augustin made an overlapping run down the right flank and sent a cross into the area, but freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) got under her volley attempt and sent it sailing over the bar.
The Lions earned another free kick in the danger zone from 20 yards out at the 76-minute mark, and while Cori McGovern’s service got through to the back post to Kelley Lawson, but she mis-hit her sliding left-footed volley and sprayed it high and wide of the target. Less than a minute later, Erin Rementer gathered a loose ball just outside the box and tried a left-footed shot from distance, but that also was off frame in what would be LMU’s best (and last) chances in the final quarter-hour.
Notre Dame heads back to the Midwest next weekend, as it gets set to begin BIG EAST Conference play at 4 p.m. CT/5 p.m. ET Friday against DePaul at Wish Field in Chicago. The Fighting Irish will remain in the Windy City through the weekend, as they close out their regular-season non-conference slate at 4:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. ET Sunday at Northwestern.
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— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Henderson’s goal at the 1:11 mark of the first half was Notre Dame’s quickest opening score since Dec. 7, 2008, when Kerri Hanks scored 16 seconds into the NCAA national championship match against North Carolina in Cary, N.C. (setting an NCAA College Cup record in the process) … Henderson’s goal also was the sixth-fastest goal in the 12-year tenure of head coach Randy Waldrum … Notre Dame earns its first victory in the state of California in just over five years — Sept. 11, 2005, when it earned a 4-1 win over Gonzaga at the Santa Clara (Calif.) Classic … the Fighting Irish claimed their first win over a California (and West Coast Conference) team on its home pitch since Sept. 21, 2003, when they defeated 18th-ranked Santa Clara, 2-1 … Henderson moves into a tie with Monica Gerardo (1995-98) and Katie Thorlakson (2002-05) for fifth place on the Notre Dame all-time list with her 17th career gamewinning goal … the Fighting Irish now are 26-0 all-time when Henderson scores a goal and 32-0 all-time when she tallies a point (which she’s done in 12 of the past 16 Notre Dame contests) … Scheidler collected her 11th career assist, and 10th in the past two-plus seasons (the most by a Fighting Irish back in that span) … Notre Dame improves to 2-0 all-time against LMU, having also earned a 4-0 win over the Lions in 2008 at the Inn at Saint Mary’s Classic at old Alumni Field … the Fighting Irish earn their fifth shutout in six matches this season and raise their all-time record when allowing 0-1 goals to 393-10-15 (.958).