Oct. 12, 2008
VILLANOVA, Pa. – Sophomore midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) rifled home the “golden goal” less than seven minutes into overtime as No. 1 Notre Dame stretched its season-opening winning streak to 14 games with a hard-fought 3-2 overtime win at BIG EAST Conference foe Villanova on Sunday afternoon at VU’s West Campus Soccer Complex. It was the first time this season that the Irish were taken to an extra period, but the end result was Notre Dame’s seventh consecutive three-goal game and an extension of its BIG EAST unbeaten streak to 45 games, the third-longest in NCAA Division I history.
Augustin’s OT gamewinner was the first of her career and her third goal of the 2008 season. However, it was set up by the hard work of senior defender Elise Weber (Elk Grove, Ill./St. Viator’s Academy), who battled to pry loose the ball near the left side and angled her dribble back toward goal before lofting a precision cross-field pass that floated over a crowded offensive third and found Augustin unmarked at the right flank. The second-year midliner pushed forward on the dribble into the penalty area and uncorked a low rocket into the far left-side netting from 15 yards out (96:58), triggering a joyous celebration from the Irish bench and an enthusiastic band of Notre Dame supporters that made the trip to suburban Philadelphia.
On its face, the margin might seem surprising, but not when considering the series history between the clubs on the VU campus. The one-goal game was the fourth in Notre Dame’s last five visits to Villanova, with the Main Line providing similar road challenges for the Irish to that of its other weekend opponent, Georgetown (where Notre Dame had to deal with three consecutive one-goal contests prior to Friday’s 3-1 win).
The Irish wound up with a 24-7 edge in total shots (15-4 in shots on goal) and held a 7-5 margin on corner kicks. The game was physical at both ends, with the teams combining for 33 fouls (18 by Villanova) and a pair of yellow cards (both to VU). Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) was credited with the victory, stopping two shots.
“This was about the furthest we’ve been pushed all season, and you have to credit Villanova for their resiliency,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We had a chance to put them away in the first half and we didn’t do that, which is disappointing. But at the same time, we showed good poise and strength when we had to, and I’m proud of the way we were able to battle and get the win. That’s the sign of a maturing team and one that will learn from its mistakes and improve as the season goes on.”
The victory capped a wild swing of emotions for Notre Dame (14-0-0, 7-0-0 BIG EAST), which appeared to have the game under control in the first half after scoring twice in the first eight minutes of play with a brilliant 1-2 punch from their senior All-America forwards and Hermann Trophy candidates. Brittany Bock (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) was the first to dent the scoreboard, running on to a cross from sophomore defender Julie Scheidler (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard) and nodding it past the charging Villanova goalkeeper, Molly Williams (3:06). It marked the ninth time in 14 games this season that the Irish scored in the opening 20 minutes, and it was only the beginning.
On Notre Dame’s next offensive flurry, junior midfielder Courtney Rosen (Brecksville, Ohio/Hathaway Brown) won the ball at midfield and lofted a chip over the Wildcats’ backline, where Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas/Allen) outraced a pair of VU defenders into the box before being hauled down and drawing a penalty kick. Hanks then finished the job she started, slotting her 14th goal of the season (7:56), while extending her goalscoring streak to a career-high eight games and her point-scoring string to 10 contests.
The two early Irish goals appeared to take the wind out of the sails of Villanova’s Senior Day crowd, but while the Wildcats wobbled, they wouldn’t fall. Still, Notre Dame kept up steady pressure, outshooting VU, 9-2 in the first half. Villanova did make some inroads to its offensive third late in the period, and drew its first corner kick with two minutes to go, the first by an Irish opponent in nearly four full games (since Sept. 28 at Cincinnati).
While Notre Dame looked to finish off Villanova (11-4-0, 4-3-0), the Wildcats would have none of it and instead, they halved their deficit at 50:26 on another corner kick. Rachel Schuyler sent the ball in from the flag, where Kelly Eagan played a slow grounder on net from the penalty spot that was re-directed by Grace Hawkins at the six-yard box and trickled through the maze of humanity inside the left post.
The Irish pushed hard to rebuild their two-goal lead, with senior defender/co-captain Carrie Dew (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon) coming up on three consecutive corner kicks by Hanks in a three-minute span and driving two headers wide left, while a third was ticketed for goal before being swept off the line by the Villanova defense (74:00). The Wildcats countered again, and despite taking just three shots in the second half, they found the back of the net again, this time with 8:12 remaining, and again it came from a corner kick set. This time, Laura Sylvester was the beneficiary, fighting through a goal-mouth scramble and somehow toe-poking the loose ball across the line before Lysander could clear it from danger.
The final minutes of regulation took on a frantic feel once Villanova scored, with Notre Dame furiously squeezing off shot after shot and Williams orchestrating a VU defense that gamely held its ground. Williams finished with a career-high 12 saves, including eight in the second half.
VU got its best chance of the overtime period less than three minutes in, as Erin Hardiman sprang loose along the left edge of the penalty box, but Rosen smartly backtracked and was able to tackle the ball away for a corner kick that subsequently was driven out of the area. Weber then made her own bid for a gamewinner, but her 25-yard knuckler from the left side drifted wide right. Her next touch three minutes later would be true, as she started the “golden goal” sequence that Augustin cashed in.
Notre Dame will open the back half of its four-game BIG EAST road swing next Friday, Oct. 17, when it travels to Providence for a 3 p.m. (ET) contest at Glay Field. The Irish then will head to Connecticut on Oct. 19 for a 1 p.m. (ET) game that will be televised live to a national cable audience by CBS College Sports.
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame has opened a season with 14 consecutive wins for the third time in program history, all during the Waldrum era (since ’99); in 2000, the Irish started off 16-0-0 en route to a 23-1-1 season and a berth in the NCAA College Cup semifinals, then in 2004, they opened 15-0-0 before winding up at 25-1-1 with the program’s second national championship … since beginning last year with a 3-4-1 record, Notre Dame has gone 30-1-1, with the only loss coming to #14 Florida State in last year’s NCAA College Cup semifinals (3-2) and the lone tie occurring in the ’07 BIG EAST Championship final at #12 West Virginia (the Mountaineers won the conference title on penalty kicks, 5-3) … that FSU game was the last time the Irish had allowed more than one goal in a game before Sunday’s contest at Villanova … the WVU game was the most recent overtime contest for Notre Dame, while its last regular-season OT affair was a 2-1 victory over #13 Connecticut on Oct. 21, 2007, at Alumni Field; Bock scored the “golden goal” that afternoon, ironically also off a Weber assist … Notre Dame improves to 16-3-8 in overtime games during the 10-year Waldrum era … the Irish also post their seventh consecutive three-goal game, matching the sixth-longest streak in school history … the Irish raise their all-time record in three-goal games to 273-3-1, including a 175-1 mark since Oct. 6, 1995 … Notre Dame now is 294-0-1 all-time and unbeaten in its last 271 contests when claiming a 2-0 lead, although Villanova is just the second of the past 184 Irish opponents (and the fourth all-time) to force a tie after falling behind 2-0 … Notre Dame lengthened its active goalscoring streak to 39 consecutive games (third-longest in school history), dating back to last year’s season opener (0-0 tie vs. Michigan at Alumni Field) … Hanks’ current career-long eight-game goalscoring string is fourth-best in program history and two off the school record held by Amanda Guertin (Oct. 12-Nov. 18, 2001) … Hanks also becomes the first Notre Dame player ever to fashion three double-digit point-scoring streaks in her career, adding this year’s 10-game spree to career-long 13-game runs in each of the past two seasons; the school record is 14 games by Katie Thorlakson from Oct. 14-Nov. 25, 2005 … Hanks’ goal was her sixth on seven penalty kick attempts this year, including the past four games … Hanks potted her 78th goal, which ties her for 20th on the NCAA Division I career goals list with U.S. National Team legend (and former North Carolina standout) Kristine Lilly, as well as UNC Greensboro’s Allie Lord; Hanks also is just two goals shy of Jenny Heft’s Notre Dame record set from 1996-99 … in addition, Hanks now has 218 points (78G-62A), putting her one behind former Portland great (and U.S. National Team forward) Shannon MacMillan for ninth place on the D-I all-time chart … with a combined 122 goals, Hanks (78 goals) and Bock (44 goals) are third on Notre Dame’s list of career goals by classmates, with 2000 seniors Anne Makinen and Meotis Erikson second on that chart with 124 scores (Makinen – 65; Erikson – 59) … Bock’s 44th goal moves her into 13th place on the Irish career goals list, passing Susie Zilvitis (1988-91) and putting her one behind Alison Lester (1990-93) … Bock may have a special place in her heart for Villanova, scoring her fourth career goal against VU, with all four coming via headers (half of her 44 career goals are headers) … Augustin also continues to enjoy playing Villanova — she has eight goals in her young career, and three of them have come against the Wildcats … Scheidler has four assists this season, all in the past seven games, after notching one assist in her entire freshman season … Sunday’s win was the 399th in the program’s history (now 399-67-19, .842, in 20-plus seasons), as well as the 199th for Waldrum at Notre Dame (now 199-29-8, .860, in nine-plus years).