Oct. 3, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Junior forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) continued her recent offensive explosion with two goals and an assist, while freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) chalked up her second game-winning goal of the weekend and added an assist as No. 5/7 Notre Dame charged past St. John’s, 4-1 in a nationally-televised BIG EAST Conference match on Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 1,331 fans at Alumni Stadium. Senior forward/midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) chipped in with her sixth goal of the season for the Fighting Irish midway through the second half before the Red Storm averted the shutout on a late own-goal, the first allowed by Notre Dame in nearly six years.
The win extended the Fighting Irish NCAA Division I-record unbeaten streak against conference opponents to 71 consecutive matches (68-0-3), tying Division II record holder Metro State (Colo.) for fifth place on the NCAA all-division conference unbeaten streak chart (MSC had a 71-match run from 1994-2000). Division III member Hardin-Simmons (Texas) has an active 105-match unbeaten streak against American Southwest Conference opponents since Sept. 20, 2003, maintaining the longest run in NCAA history. Sunday’s victory also stretched Notre Dame’s winning streak at Alumni Stadium to 21 consecutive matches following a loss to North Carolina on the facility’s opening night (Sept. 4, 2009).
Henderson, who also became the 18th player in school history with at least 100 career points, posted her third consecutive two-goal outing in the win over St. John’s, while tallying her second consecutive five-point Sunday (she had a similar two-goal, one-assist afternoon at No. 24/18 Louisville last weekend). In her last three matches, Henderson has registered 14 points (6G-2A), and she is the first Notre Dame player with three consecutive multi-goal matches since Monica Gerardo pulled off a similar feat from Oct. 4-11, 1998.
The Fighting Irish (11-1, 5-0 BIG EAST) dominated the statistical totals once again, outshooting St. John’s by a 20-5 margin, including a 10-3 edge in shots on goal. Notre Dame also had a wide 12-1 spread in corner kicks, as well as a 6-4 difference in fouls.
Senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) worked the first 62:27 in the Fighting Irish net, making two saves. Sophomore Maddie Fox (San Jose, Calif./Leigh) came on in relief for the final 27-plus minutes to complete the Notre Dame victory. St. John’s netminder Kristin Russell turned aside five shots in more than 79 minutes of action before giving way to her understudy, Lauren Ferris, who made one save in a little more than 10 minutes of mop-up duty.
“It’s hard not to be pleased with the way we played, not just today but really for the past two weekends,” said Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum, who earned his 350th career win in 21 seasons on the women’s soccer sidelines. “Our offense is starting to come together, and I can’t say enough about what Melissa Henderson has done for us lately. That’s the kind of play we know she can produce on a regular basis, and when she’s playing well, we grow more and more confident as a team in the attacking third. Elizabeth Tucker continues to be an absolute bulldog out there, and I also liked the development we’re seeing from Adriana Leon in the past few games. We’ve still got some areas we need to sharpen up, but the arrow is definitely pointed in the right direction for us and that’s great to see.”
As was the case Friday night against Syracuse, Notre Dame came out firing on all cylinders and it didn’t take long for that pressure to pay off. In the 10th minute, Leon sprang Henderson on a run down the left flank, and as the speedy Fighting Irish striker cut back into the box, she was hauled down by a St. John’s defender, resulting in a penalty kick. Henderson promptly stepped to the spot and drilled a shot past Russell for her second penalty-kick conversion in as many tries this season (9:49). It marked the fourth time in the past five matches (and sixth time this year) that Notre Dame has scored within the opening 12 minutes of play.
Moments later, the Fighting Irish doubled their lead, and this time Henderson put on her playmaking hat to create the score. Winning the ball on the right side, Henderson knifed past her defender at the end line, charged towards the goal and then smartly slipped a pass across the face of goal, where Tucker was unguarded and had an easy six-yard strike into the virtually empty net (18:08). It was Tucker’s second score of the weekend and temporarily put her second on the team in scoring with six goals this season, a mark that Augustin would equal with her second-half tally.
Leon followed with three quick shots just after the television timeout at the 23-minute mark before St. John’s (4-7-1, 1-4) finally recorded its first shot of the afternoon in the 29th minute, a lengthy try on goal by Jen Leaverton that didn’t give Weiss too much difficulty. Leaverton got a second look on frame five minutes later, collecting the ball on the right side of the box but popping her shot high into the goalmouth where Weiss went high to make the catch.
Notre Dame took all the remaining drama out of Sunday’s match with two goals in a span of 6:05 near the hour mark. Tucker started the sequence by snaring a failed Red Storm clearance at the edge of the attacking third and expertly chipping the ball back into the mixer near the penalty spot. Henderson came down with the service, then put on a display of uncanny ball control, keeping possession in the midst of four St. John’s defenders while turning first over her left shoulder, then back to her right, and finally back over her left shoulder with a low right-footed drive that nestled inside the left post (56:22).
Leon capped the day’s activities for Notre Dame, latching on to a ball near the top left of the penalty box and uncorking a wicked right-footed drive that clipped a Red Storm defender on the way in and deflected towards the goal mouth. Augustin was crashing the net on the play and found the ball waiting at her feet for a simple tap-in from point-blank range at the 62:27 mark.
The lone St. John’s score came in the 71st minute when the Fighting Irish attempted to clear a ball out of the back, but the pass clipped the heels of a defender vacating the box and caromed into the net.
Notre Dame will be back in action at 7:30 p.m. (ET) Friday when it welcomes Seton Hall to Alumni Stadium. A live audio broadcast, in-progress stats and a live blog will be available for the match through the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com).
Tickets for all 2010 Notre Dame soccer matches are available by contacting the Murnane Family Ticket Office by phone (574-631-7356) or in person (Gate 9 in the new Rosenthal Atrium at Purcell Pavilion) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) weekdays. Fans also can purchase tickets on-line through the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site (www.UND.com/tickets) or by visiting the ticket windows at Alumni Stadium on match night.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, join the Fighting Irish women’s soccer news Twitter page (www.twitter.com/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 GAME NOTES: The Fighting Irish can move into a tie for fourth place on the NCAA all-division conference unbeaten streak chart with their next win/tie — Division III member Wisconsin-Stevens Point is in the No. 4 spot with a 72-match unbeaten league string from 1996-2000 … Notre Dame is unbeaten and untied in its first four BIG EAST matches this season, outscoring its conference foes, 18-1 thus far … since Nikki Weiss became the full-time Fighting Irish starting goalkeeper on Oct. 4, 2009, Notre Dame has gone 14-0-1 against BIG EAST opponents with 11 shutouts and a 0.26 goals-against average (GAA) … Notre Dame now has allowed 0-1 goals in 26 of its past 27 matches, dating back to last season … in this current 27-match defensive stretch, Notre Dame has posted a 24-2-1 record with 19 shutouts (13 solo and six shared by Weiss), a 67-11 scoring margin and a 0.40 GAA … the Fighting Irish rise to 401-10-15 (.959) all-time when holding their opponents to 0-1 goals in a game … since falling in its Alumni Stadium opener to North Carolina on Sept. 4, 2009, Notre Dame has won its last 21 matches at its sparkling new state-of-the-art facility, posting a 57-3 scoring margin with 18 shutouts in that time (the lone opponent goals were scored by Connecticut’s Linda Ruutu on Oct. 16, 2009 and Central Michigan’s Molly Gerst on Nov. 15, 2009, both during 6-1 Notre Dame victories, as well as Sunday’s own-goal by St. John’s) … the own-goal was the first allowed by Notre Dame since Dec. 5, 2004, when the Fighting Irish gave UCLA its only tally in the 60th minute of the NCAA national championship match in Cary, N.C. (the teams played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw before Notre Dame won its second NCAA title on penalty kicks, 5-4) … the Fighting Irish jump to 172-4-2 (.972) all-time at home against unranked opponents (according to the NSCAA poll) … this was Henderson’s 11th career multi-goal match and her third in a row, the first time a Notre Dame player has strung together three consecutive multi-goal matches since Oct. 4-11, 1998, when Monica Gerardo did so at home against Georgetown (two goals in 8-0 win) and on the road at Boston College (two goals in 3-1 win) and Providence (three goals in 8-0 win) … the Fighting Irish improve to 30-0 in Henderson’s career (2008-present) when she scores a goal, and 37-0 when she tallies a point, which she’s done in 17 of the past 22 Notre Dame matches, dating back to last season … Henderson moved into a tie for 13th place on Notre Dame’s career goals list (she now has 45, equaling the total by one of the program’s first All-Americans, Alison Lester from 1990-93) … Henderson jumped into 17th place on the school’s career points list with 103 points (45G-13A), passing both Amy Warner (99 from 2000-03) and Amanda Cinalli (100 from 2004-07) on Sunday … Tucker is tied with Henderson for the team lead with four game-winning goals this season — the school record for game-winning scores by a freshman is seven, held by Jenny Streiffer in 1996 … Notre Dame improved to 13-0-0 all-time against St. John’s, including a 7-0-0 series record in South Bend … the Fighting Irish have outscored the Red Storm, 59-2 in the all-time series, with both St. John’s goals coming in the past two matchups (this year’s was an own-goal, and video replays indicated last year’s score in the BIG EAST Championship semifinal also came via a corner kick that glanced off the head of a Notre Dame defender, although it was not credited as an own-goal) … Notre Dame rises to 21-0-0 all-time against schools from the state of New York, with a 96-5 scoring margin in those contests … in addition to scoring in the opening 12 minutes in six matches this season (four of the past five and five of seven), the Fighting Irish also have potted goals in the first 30 minutes in nine of their 12 contests this year … Notre Dame also moves to 323-0-1 all-time when taking a 2-0 lead, including a 300-match unbeaten streak in such games, dating back to a 3-3 tie with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati … the Fighting Irish continue their uncanny success when scoring three goals in a match, improving to 291-3-1 (.988) all-time in those matches, including a 193-1-0 (.995) record since Oct. 6, 1995 … Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum earned his 350th win in 21 seasons as a women’s college soccer skipper (350-85-21, .791).