Sept. 19, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. – Junior forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) set up Notre Dame’s first goal and converted the eventual gamewinner on a penalty kick midway through the first half as the No. 7/11 Fighting Irish completed a weekend sweep of Chicago-area teams with a 2-1 victory over Northwestern on an overcast and breezy Sunday afternoon at Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill.
Freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) completed the best weekend of her young career with the opening goal of the day in the fifth minute, giving her three scores in the past two matches. Senior forward/midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) wasn’t officially credited with an assist on Henderson’s goal, but it was her pinpoint lead pass that sprang the speedy Notre Dame striker behind the Northwestern defense and led to the penalty kick.
Senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) made one save, but didn’t face much in the way of offensive pressure between the Wildcats’ goal, which came 36 seconds after Tucker’s score, and the final 10 minutes of the match, when Northwestern pushed up a third attacker in an effort to tie the score.
Wildcats’ netminder Carolyn Edwards was credited with three saves, in addition to a team save for Northwestern. Edwards also was issued a yellow card for bringing down Henderson on a breakaway in the box, resulting in the 21st-minute penalty kick that proved to be the difference.
Notre Dame (7-1-0) led in all of the statistical categories on Sunday, outshooting the Wildcats, 11-6, with three of NU’s six shots coming during its frantic late-match push. The Fighting Irish also led in shots on goal (6-2), corner kicks (5-0) and fouls (11-9).
“This was a challenging game for us because it was at a place we’ve never played before (Lakeside Field) and against an opponent that already has a win over a top-five opponent under their belt (1-0 vs. then-No. 3 UCLA on Aug. 29),” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “For that reason, it was an important win for us. Yet, I’m still a bit disappointed that we gave up that tying goal so quickly after scoring ourselves, and also that we still aren’t making the most of our offensive chances. We had several really good looks in both games this weekend, and we didn’t put them away. But we’ll take this and look forward to coming back home against Cincinnati on Friday night in front of another of our great Alumni Stadium crowds.”
For the second time in three matches, and the third time this season, Notre Dame scored in the opening five minutes, needing only 4:16 to find the back of the net on Sunday at Northwestern. Freshman midfielder Mandy Laddish (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Lee’s Summit) started the rush with a lead pass to Henderson in the left channel. In turn, Henderson settled the ball and slipped an angled pass to Tucker slicing in towards the top of the box. Edwards came out to challenge, but Tucker calmly used a touch to her left to pull the Northwestern goalkeeper out of position and then poked the ball into the empty net.
However, as quickly as the Fighting Irish grabbed the lead, the Wildcats potted the equalizer. Leigh Jakes took off on a run down the left flank and served a ball into the box that deflected off the head of a Notre Dame defender and into the air near the penalty spot. Julie Sierks alertly raced into the box, rose up and headed the ball just inside the left post past a diving Weiss (4:52).
In spite of the tying goal and the brief momentum swing that followed, the Fighting Irish kept control of the match from that point forward, spending long stretches of both halves in their offensive third and using a patient possession game to keep Northwestern on the run.
That patience paid off in the 21st minute, as Augustin noticed the Wildcats’ backline creeping forward and connected with Henderson into space running behind the NU backs. Henderson took two touches into the box, while Edwards came sprinting off her line to try and cut down the angle. In doing so, she cleared out Henderson with a reckless challenge that upended the Texan and led to the awarding of Notre Dame’s first penalty kick of the season. Henderson did the heavy lifting to create the chance, so it was appropriate that she finished off matters by calmly slotting home the spot kick at 20:54.
The Fighting Irish continued to pepper the Northwestern goal, with Henderson finding space on the right side off a pass from Augustin in the 35th minute, but her sharp angle try was knocked down by Edwards, and freshman forward Adriana Leon (Maple, Ontario/The Country Day School) couldn’t quite get power on her rebound try before the Wildcats’ defense cleared away the threat.
Right from the second-half kickoff, Notre Dame went back on the attack, as senior forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) slipped a pass to Henderson on the left flank. She drove to the end line and cracked a tantalizing service through the six-yard box that eluded everyone, including Augustin who was crashing hard but couldn’t quite get a toe on the ball.
In the 55th minute, senior defender/co-captain Lauren Fowlkes (Lee’s Summit, Mo./St. Teresa’s Academy) stymied a Northwestern offensive rush and started a quick counterattack with a long lead pass over the top to Henderson. Edwards again roamed off her line, but Henderson beat the Wildcats’ netminder to the ball and briefly had an empty net to shoot on. However, she couldn’t control the spinning ball in time to get a clean look on frame before NU’s defense recovered again.
Less than two minutes later, Henderson had her best chance of the second half on a play that started with two of her classmates. Defender/co-captain Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) served a ball from the right side that was flicked on by the head of midfielder Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa’s Academy). Henderson corralled the pass near the top left of the box, cut back to the inside for a better shooting angle and unleashed a wicked rising blast that Edwards did extremely well to parry over the bar.
After Northwestern pushed up its third attacker, Notre Dame still posed several offensive threats, most notably with 10 minutes left. Following a Fighting Irish giveaway near midfield, NU forward Kate Allen charged towards the top of the box, but Schuveiller stood fast and cleanly dispossessed the Wildcat striker before clearing the ball ahead to Knaack. She quickly sprinted into the Northwestern offensive third before dishing off to Leon in the right channel, but the Canadian’s rocket shot from the top of the box was blocked over the end line at the last second.
The Wildcats’ best scoring opportunity in the closing moments came with 7:15 left, when Caroline Dagley got loose on the right flank, cut back near the top of the box and drilled a rising left-footed shot that Weiss tracked all the way, reaching up to snare the shot that was ticketed for the upper left corner of the net.
Notre Dame returns home at 7:30 p.m. (ET) Friday as it plays host to Cincinnati in a BIG EAST match at Alumni Stadium — a live audio broadcast and live in-game blog of that contest will be available through the official Notre Dame athletics web site, www.UND.com. The Fighting Irish then will head to Louisville on Sunday (Sept. 26) for a 1 p.m. (ET) match against the No. 23/16 Cardinals.
Season and single-game tickets for the 2010 Notre Dame soccer campaign are available by contacting the Murnane Family Ticket Office by phone (574-631-7356) or in person (Gate 9 in the Rosenthal Atrium at Purcell Pavilion) weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET). Fans also can purchase tickets on-line through the official Notre Dame athletics ticket web page (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: Notre Dame now has won 23 consecutive road matches against Big Ten Conference opponents (from 1990-present) since losing the program’s first three contests at Big Ten foes in 1988-89 … Sunday marked the first Big Ten road match for the Fighting Irish since Sept. 21, 2008 (a 3-1 Notre Dame win at No. 17/16 Penn State) … the Fighting Irish also are 2-0 against Big Ten teams this season, having defeated Minnesota, 1-0, in the season opener on Aug. 20 at Alumni Stadium … Notre Dame is 4-0 all-time against Northwestern with an 18-2 scoring edge in the series — the Wildcats scored their first goal against the Fighting Irish since Oct. 13, 1990, when Notre Dame posted an 11-1 victory at old Alumni Field in South Bend … the Fighting Irish are unbeaten in their last 12 Sunday matches (11-0-1) and are 30-2-2 (.912) on Sundays since September 2007 … Henderson’s penalty kick conversion was the first successful spot kick by Notre Dame since Nov. 21, 2008, when Kerri Hanks’ overtime penalty gave the Fighting Irish a 1-0 win over Minnesota in the third round of the NCAA Championship at old Alumni Field … Henderson netted her 18th career gamewinning goal (and fourth this season) on Sunday, tying Amanda Guertin (2000-03) for fourth place on the Notre Dame career list — Hanks is the record holder with 23 career gamewinners … Henderson also scored her 39th career goal, tying her with current U.S. National Team midfielder Shannon Boxx (1995-98) for 15th place on the Notre Dame all-time goals chart … the Fighting Irish improve to 27-0 in Henderson’s career (2008-present) when she scores a goal, and 34-0 when she tallies a point, which she’s done in 14 of the past 18 Notre Dame matches, dating back to last season … the Fighting Irish raise their all-time record when allowing 0-1 goals to 395-10-15 (.958) … in its last 23 matches, Notre Dame has limited 22 opponents to one goal or fewer, going 20-2-1 in that time with 16 shutouts (13 solo and three shared by Weiss), a 51-10 scoring margin and an 0.43 goals-against average (GAA) … Notre Dame had a sizable women’s soccer alumni contingent on hand for Sunday’s match, including former three-time All-American/U.S. National Team defender Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf (’98), 1996 Hermann Trophy recipient and three-time All-America midfielder Cindy (Daws) Mosley (’97), standout forward Stacia (Masters) Richards (’97), talented defender Julie Vogel (’96) and Class of 2010 midfielder Micaela Alvarez.