Sept. 5, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The fifth-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team endured an early onslaught from No. 13 Arizona State in Friday night’s Notre Dame Classic action at Alumni Field, with the Irish yielding an early 1-0 lead before turning their game up a notch for the 3-1 victory.
Notre Dame (3-0-0) – which tried several combinations in its injury-riddled defense – improved to 13-1 in its last 14 home openers, thanks once again to the stellar play of junior forward Mary Boland. The Academic All-America candidate scored the first two Irish goals versus ASU, pushing her offensive totals to six goals and one assist in three games played. Boland’s fast start has placed her in rarified air on a number of fronts, most recently by setting the Irish record for most goals in the first three games of a season (6).
Freshman midfielder Jen Buczkowski continued to play well beyond her years with another strong display of ball control and playmaking. Buczkowski set up a pair of goals with well-placed long balls, the first finding Boland for a lunging deflection at the right post (22:38) while her second-half ball sprung senior forward Amy Warner for a rightside crossing shot at 70:77. It was Warner’s third goal of the season and 30th of her Notre Dame career, becoming the 15th all-time ND player with 30-plus.
Boland’s second goal of the night came five minutes after her first. Senior forward Amanda Guertin initiated the sequence by taking to the defensive and winning a 50-50 ball on the left flank before angling inside and sending a pass to the top of the box. Boland ran onto the ball and maintained separation from her defender before looping a shot from the upper right corner of the box that sailed over chaging ‘keeper Kelly Fitzgerald and ripped into the far left side of the net (22:38).
Notre Dame sophomore goalkeeper Erika Bohn improved to 14-2 in her last 16 starts with the Irish, with her four saves including a penalty-kick stop with the score still 2-1 in the second half. Melissa Tancredi’s breakaway tackle set up the PK but Patrice Fuelner struck the ball low and within reach of the ‘keeper. Bohn hesitated for a split-second and was able to extend for the diving stop to her left, preserving the lead (60:41).
Notre Dame’s current goal total (15) marks the best early-season production by the Irish since the 1998 squad opened with 20 goals after wins over Michigan State (4-0), West Virginia (7-0) and Pittsburgh (9-1) – with the Irish facing a much stiffer slate this season (Hartford, Wake Forest and ASU all were tournament teams in ’02).
The debut season of the Randy Waldrum era produced the previous time that an ND team has collected three-plus goals in three straight games, with that 1999 BIG EAST Tournament flurry including 5-0 wins over Miami and Seton Hall and a 4-2 win over Connecticut.
The Irish continued to play minus three injured starters – defenders Candace Chapman and Gudrun Gunnarsdottir and midfielder Randi Scheller – while three others remain sidelined with their own injuries. On the plus side of the injury news was the return of fifth-year defender Vanessa Pruzinsky, who had not played a complete game since the final game of 2001 (due to a nagging ankle injury). The Academic All-American logged the full 90 minutes vs. ASU and saved the Irish several times from the early onslaught, while playing right back (she later played on the left side).
Sophomore Annie Schefter and freshman Kim Lorenzen both saw time at central defense, alongside the senior Tancredi, with Lorenzen settling into that spot while Schefter later returned to her more natural midfield spot in the second half (when freshman Lizzie Reed moved to right back).
In Friday’s earlier game, Rutgers junior All-American midfielder Carli Lloyd scored wtih 2:05 left in regulation for a 2-1 win over Oklahoma. The Knights opened the scoring early in the first half, when Tierney Brady found herself open at the top right corner of the box and drilled a shot into the upper left corner for her first goal of the season (56:40).
Oklahoma notched the late equalizer at the 82:25 mark, with Erin Pemberton shaking free to send home a shot under the crossbar. But Lloyd later worked her magic on the left side of the box, eluding several OU players before swiping her fifth goal of the season into the right side of the net.
NOTES: The Irish now are 190-3-1 in their 16-hear history when scoring at least three goals (better than 98%) and are 259-8-10 (nearly 96%) when holding the opponent to 0-1 goals … ND also improved to 16-3-2 in home tournaments, 29-5 in series openers since ’93 and 42-8 in all-time series openers … since ’93, teams making their first visit to Alumni Field now are just 3-32-1 vs. the Irish … Warner made her 46th straight start in Friday’s game.
#13 Arizona State 1 0 – 1
#5 Notre Dame 2 1 – 3
ASU 1. Stephanie Peel 1 (Courtney Crane) 10:20; ND 1. Mary Boland 5 (Jen Buczkowski) 17:38; ND 2. Boland 6 (Amanda Guertin) 22:38; ND 3. Amy Warner 3 (Buczkowski) 70:27.
Shots: ASU 6-5 – 11, ND 5-6 – 11
Corner Kicks: ASU 4, ND 4
Saves: ASU 1 (Kelly Fitzgerald), ND 4 (Erika Bohn).
Fouls: ASU 15, ND 8. Offside: ASU 0, ND 1.