Sept. 11, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The No. 5/7 Notre Dame women’s soccer team saw its school-record 15-game road unbeaten streak come to an end Friday with a 2-0 loss at Santa Clara on the first night of the SCU adidas Classic at Buck Shaw Stadium. It was the first time the Irish lost on an opponent’s home pitch since Sept. 7, 2007, when the same Santa Clara squad defeated Notre Dame, 7-1, in this same tournament at this same facility.
The Broncos ended up with a 10-8 shot advantage on the Irish, including a slim 5-4 edge in shots on goal. SCU’s biggest margin of the night came from the corner flag, where the hosts rang up a staggering 10-2 spread on corner kicks.
Junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) and senior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) each played a half in the Notre Dame net, with Weiss making one save and Lysander turning aside two shots.
Bianca Henninger earned the shutout in the Santa Clara goal, recording three saves, including a pair of big first-half stops early in a then-scoreless contest.
Notre Dame (3-2) had the first good offensive push of the night just 90 seconds after the opening kickoff, as junior midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) got behind the SCU defense on the left side of the penalty area, but her left-footed shot from 10 yards out was stopped by Henninger, and Irish sophomore forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) didn’t get a clean touch on the rebound six yards out on the right post while Henninger was out of position.
Santa Clara (4-2) earned four of its six first-half corner kicks in the opening 20 minutes, but nothing came of those opportunities. Meanwhile, Notre Dame tested Henninger again in the 17th minute, as sophomore defender/midfielder Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa’s Academy) cracked a 20-yard dipping shot that was ticketed for the left post, but Henninger was able to get down and deflect the shot over the end line for a corner kick.
The Broncos broke the ice just past the midway point of the first half. After earning a free kick at the edge of the offensive third, Kiki Bosio took a quick restart and found Jordan Angeli unmarked in the right channel 25 yards from goal. The sixth-year senior then uncorked a rising blast that eluded Weiss and tucked under the cross bar to give SCU the lead at 23:52.
Following the goal, Notre Dame ratcheted up the offensive pressure, spending much of the final 15 minutes of the first half in the Santa Clara end of the pitch. However, the Irish couldn’t find the finishing combination, and the Broncos nearly doubled their lead on a counterattack with eight minutes left in the period, but Anessa Patton didn’t get full measure on her shot from the left side of the area, and the ball rolled harmlessly into Weiss’ waiting arms.
After coming on to start the second half, Lysander got her first challenge less than four minutes into the frame, as Bosio’s flip throw landed in the six-yard box, but the Irish netminder was there to smother the loose ball.
At the 52:30 mark, sophomore midfielder Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano West) looked to have sprung a pair of her Notre Dame teammates with a chip over the SCU backline, but the play was whistled down for offsides.
The Broncos then scored the critical second goal at 62:06 with an efficient counterattack after Notre Dame earned a free kick deep in its offensive third. SCU’s Kendra Perry took the ball down the left channel, then sent a ball back across the face of goal. Lauren Matheson was parked on the back porch, where she settled the cross and drilled a low 12-yard shot that beat Lysander inside the left post.
The Irish had one of their best chances of the night just 35 seconds after the Santa Clara goal, as Henderson fed a perfect through-ball to freshman forward Tereza Stastny (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll), who broke into the area for a 1-v-1. However, Henninger charged off her line and was able to get a piece of Stastny’s right toe poke to keep Notre Dame off the board.
Matheson had a chance to add to her total with less than 11 minutes left, but Lysander did well to come out and make a kick save on the SCU attacker’s 15-yard shot on the left side of the box.
The Irish cranked up the offensive pressure during the final 10 minutes, sending virtually their entire lineup into the offensive third against a bunkered Bronco defense. It nearly paid off in the 82nd minute, when Stastny had a scoring look inside the area, but her drive from near the penalty spot swerved high and wide right.
With a little more than five minutes left, Augustin lifted a free kick into the area that landed on the left foot of junior defender Lauren Fowlkes (Lee’s Summit, Mo./St. Teresa’s Academy), but Bosio deflected her close-range shot wide of the right post.
The Fighting Irish will close out their two-game West Coast road swing on Sunday at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET) when they square off with No. 3/2 Stanford on the final day of the Santa Clara adidas Classic at Buck Shaw Stadium.
— ND —