Oct. 8, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Junior forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) and senior forward/midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) each registered a goal and an assist as No. 5/7 Notre Dame showered Seton Hall with a season-high 32 shots on the way to a 2-1 BIG EAST Conference victory on Friday night before an enthusiastic crowd of 1,513 fans at Alumni Stadium.
With the win, the Fighting Irish (12-1, 6-0 BIG EAST) extended their NCAA Division I-record unbeaten streak against BIG EAST opponents to 72 consecutive matches (69-0-3), tying Division III member Wisconsin-Stevens Point for the fourth-longest unbeaten run against conference foes in NCAA history (across all divisions) — the Pointers compiled their 72-match streak from 1996-2000.
Henderson had a career-high 11 shots, including seven on goal in Friday’s win over Seton Hall, logging the most shots by one Notre Dame individual in a match since 2005, when Kerri Hanks took 12 shots in three different contests. (the last on Oct. 21, 2005 in a 4-0 win over Villanova at old Alumni Field). As a team, the Fighting Irish rang up their highest shot total since Nov. 14, 2008, when they squeezed off 34 shots in a 5-2 win over Toledo in the opening round of the NCAA Championship, also at old Alumni Field.
Henderson’s three-point night was her fourth in a row and included her team-leading 11th goal and seventh assist of the season. Augustin kept up the scoring pace behind her teammate, now standing alone in second on the squad with seven goals and four assists this year.
Notre Dame not only outshot Seton Hall, 32-4, but also held a 15-2 edge in shots on goal, just one off their season high in that category (16 at Louisville on Sept. 26). The Fighting Irish added a season-high 14-0 margin in corner kicks, giving them a massive 36-1 spread from the corner flag during the past three matches.
Senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) got the victory in the Notre Dame net, making one save. Seton Hall goalkeeper Jennifer Pettigrew was the story of the night, doing everything she could to keep the match from turning into a blowout with 12 saves, while also benefiting from a team save and several kind caroms from the woodwork during the night.
“At the end of the day, it’s a win and I’m pleased with that,” Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We’ve done a much better job in recent weeks of creating good scoring chances, and that was the case again tonight, but we understand we have to execute in the final third or teams are going to be able to stay in contention later in the game. Of course, hats off to their goalkeeper tonight because she played a heck of a game and really kept them going when we were shooting at her from all angles. We know there are going to be nights where it will be a bit of a grind and this was one of those times, but we’ll turn around and get ready for a very good and hungry Rutgers team on Sunday.”
Wearing special white and pink uniforms in honor of Kicks Against Breast Cancer, Notre Dame wasted little time in celebrating in their new kits, needing only 81 seconds to find the back of the net on Friday. Following a shanked clearance by Seton Hall (6-7, 2-4), Henderson volleyed the high ball over her right shoulder into space on the left flank, where Augustin smartly raced by the Pirates’ back line and into the penalty area. Pettigrew frantically came out to try and cut down the angle, but Augustin patiently cracked a low left-footed shot underneath the SHU goalkeeper and into the far right side netting (1:21). It was the second-fastest goal of the season for Notre Dame, topped only by Henderson’s score at the 1:11 mark on Sept. 12 at Loyola Marymount, and it was the fifth time in the past six matches that Notre Dame scored in the opening 12 minutes of a match.
In the fifth minute, the Fighting Irish were back on the offensive, with junior defender/co-captain Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) sending a ball down the right channel for freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny), who angled into the box and drilled a rising shot that Pettigrew did well to parry over the bar. The Seton Hall netminder had to make a similar reflex save four minutes later when freshman forward Adriana Leon (Maple, Ontario/The Country Day School) unleashed a wicked blast from the top right corner of the penalty area that brought the crowd to its feet.
Just past the midpoint of the first half, Henderson looked to have doubled Notre Dame’s lead, as she got loose on the left side of the box, cut past a defender and tried to beat Pettigrew with a shot between the legs, but the SHU sentry got a piece of the ball with her trailing leg and was able to re-direct it just wide of the far right post. At the half-hour mark, Augustin sprang Henderson on another foray down the left flank, and Henderson got her shot past a charging Pettigrew, but Pirates’ defender Taylor Mims backtracked well and was able to sweep the ball off the line and out of danger.
Henderson had her best look of the first half with 6:40 to play when she settled the ball near the top of the box, turned and whipped a rising left-footed shot as she was being hauled to the Alumni Stadium turf for a penalty kick. However, as she did so often on Friday night, Pettigrew made another sprawling finger-tip save to deny Henderson’s try from the penalty spot and keep the match at a one-goal margin going into halftime.
Notre Dame had a golden opportunity to score in the first five minutes of the second half, as Schuveiller drove down the right side and served a cross to the top of the six-yard box, where Tucker was racing into space and tried to toe-poke home the bending ball, but her shot was deflected high over the frame by a defender.
The Fighting Irish finally got their second goal in the 58th minute, as the ball popped into the air near the edge of the attacking third, where Henderson went up and knocked a mid-air backheel to Augustin sprinting down the left channel. Augustin one-touched a through-ball back to Henderson, who knifed through the Seton Hall defense into the penalty area and expertly chipped the onrushing Pettigrew from six yards out (57:43).
A little more than a minute later, Notre Dame looked like it had iced the match with a third goal, as Augustin got loose behind the Pirates’ backline and ran on to a Henderson pass, but the play was whistled down for offside. That would turn out to be a key call, as Seton Hall countered well on the ensuing free kick, driving the ball upfield and eventually finding Stephanie Soma on the right side. Soma took a touch to the inside and drove a shot from the top right edge of the box that curled past an outstretched Weiss and just inside the far left side netting, only 2:04 after the Fighting Irish goal (59:47) on SHU’s second shot on frame of the night (and only one of the second half).
The rest of the game was played almost exclusively in the Notre Dame attacking third, with the Fighting Irish taking 10 shots in the final half-hour. Their best chance for a score came in the 76th minute, when Augustin teed up a left-side free kick that was headed off the right post by senior co-captain/defender Lauren Fowlkes (Lee’s Summit, Mo./St. Teresa’s Academy) and the subsequent loose ball pinballed around the box before Pettigrew smothered it on the goal line with Henderson lurking on the doorstep for the rebound tally.
Notre Dame closes out its regular-season home schedule at 1:00 p.m. (ET) Sunday when it welcomes Rutgers to Alumni Stadium for a nationally-televised Senior Day match live on ESPNU. In addition, 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). Prior to the contest, the Fighting Irish will honor their senior class in an on-field ceremony.
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 day.
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 jerseys worn by the Fighting Irish players this weekend will be autographed and then auctioned off following Sunday’s match vs. Rutgers, with bids currently being accepted at www.UND.com/auctions … in addition to tying Wisconsin-Stevens Point for fourth place on the NCAA all-division conference unbeaten streak chart, Notre Dame also passed Division II record-holder Metro State (Colo.) on that list — MSC had a 71-match unbeaten string from 1994-2000 … since Nikki Weiss became the full-time Fighting Irish starting goalkeeper on Oct. 4, 2009, Notre Dame has gone 15-0-1 against BIG EAST opponents with 11 shutouts and a 0.31 goals-against average (GAA) … Notre Dame now has allowed 0-1 goals in 27 of its past 28 matches, dating back to last season … in this current 28-match defensive stretch, Notre Dame has posted a 25-2-1 record with 19 shutouts (13 solo and six shared by Weiss), a 69-12 scoring margin and a 0.42 GAA … the Fighting Irish rise to 402-10-15 (.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 22 matches at its sparkling new state-of-the-art facility, posting a 59-4 scoring margin with 18 shutouts in that time … the Fighting Irish jump to 173-4-2 (.972) all-time at home against unranked opponents (according to the NSCAA poll) … Notre Dame improves to 31-0 in Henderson’s career (2008-present) when she scores a goal, and 38-0 when she tallies a point, which she’s done in 18 of the past 23 Notre Dame matches, dating back to last season … Henderson rose into a tie for 12th place on Notre Dame’s career goals list (she now has 46, matching two-time All-American and former teammate Brittany Bock from 2005-08) … Henderson notched her team-high fifth game-winning goal this season, and the 19th game-winner of her career, tying her for second place on the Fighting Irish all-time list with Michelle McCarthy (1992-95) and Jenny Heft (1996-99); Kerri Hanks holds the school record with 23 career game-winning goals … in addition to scoring in the opening 12 minutes in seven matches this season (five of the past six and six of eight), the Fighting Irish also have potted goals in the first 30 minutes in 10 of their 13 contests this year … Notre Dame also moves to 324-0-1 all-time when taking a 2-0 lead, including a 301-match unbeaten streak in such games, dating back to a 3-3 tie with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati … the Fighting Irish have led or been tied for 97.9 percent of their total minutes played this season (1,148:56 of a possible 1,174:02 this season), trailing only for 25:06 in the first half of a 2-1 overtime loss at 13th-ranked UCLA on Sept. 10.