Oct. 14, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame rallied from a two-goal first-half deficit and controlled the run of play for a large portion of the second half, but the Fighting Irish allowed their second own-goal of the match with less than 14 minutes remaining as Georgetown hung on for a 3-2 BIG EAST Conference win over Notre Dame on a blustery and damp Friday evening at Alumni Stadium.
Despite the loss, Notre Dame remains in third place in the BIG EAST’s National Division with 14 points, two clear of both Seton Hall and Villanova after SHU lost at Cincinnati, 3-0, and VU won 3-2 at DePaul on Friday. The top three teams in each division receive a first-round bye for the BIG EAST Championship that begins Oct. 27.
Senior forward/tri-captain Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) sparkled in defeat for the Fighting Irish, posting a goal and an assist, while senior midfielder/tri-captain Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano West) netted her first goal in more than two years for Notre Dame (7-6-3, 4-3-2 BIG EAST). Sophomores Adriana Leon (Maple, Ontario/The Country Day School) and Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) helped set up Henderson’s early score, which ignited Notre Dame’s first-half rally.
Georgetown (12-5-0, 6-3-0) was led by Samantha Baker, who had a hand in all three of the Hoyas’ goals, scoring the first herself and then forcing the Fighting Irish into their two own-goals with a long throw-in early in the first half, and a cross from the left wing that led to the decisive tally in the second period.
Junior goalkeeper Maddie Fox (San Jose, Calif./Leigh) made two saves in the Notre Dame net, while Elizabeth Hanna did likewise in the Georgetown goal. The Fighting Irish finished with a 13-7 shot advantage on the Hoyas, while GU had a 5-4 edge in shots on goal. Georgetown also had a 7-4 margin in corner kicks (six of those coming in the first half), while the Hoyas were whistled for eight of 13 fouls in the match.
“We have no one to blame but ourselves for this result,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We dug an early hole and while we showed character to climb out of it and get even by halftime, we didn’t do what we had to do in order to finish the job. We had a good deal of the possession in the second half and plenty of chances to take the lead, both before and after that last own-goal, and we have to convert on those opportunities. Georgetown is too good a team to let hang around and they took advantage of their set-piece chances to get the win. Now we have a challenge in front of us to come back and earn a positive result in these next two matches if we want to be contention not only for the BIG EAST title, but also the NCAA tournament. I know what kind of talent and ability we have on this team — it’s up to us to pull that all together when our backs are up against the wall like they are right now.”
Georgetown wasted little time in moving to the lead, as Ingrid Wells teed up a corner kick from the near flag and Baker was able to flick her header just inside the right post for her sixth goal of the year at 1:58 of the first half.
The Hoyas then doubled their advantage in the 10th minute, as Baker hurled one of her signature long throw-ins from the near sideline into the penalty area and the ball deflected off a Fighting Irish player before tucking inside the left post (9:44).
Facing its largest home deficit of the season, Notre Dame quickly set about reversing its fortunes, starting its rally a little more than three minutes later. Henderson settled a lead pass at the edge of the attacking third and dropped it back for Tucker, who delivered a sharp pass out to Leon on the left flank. In turn, the second-year Canadian striker whipped a cross into the heart of the box, where Henderson had continued her run and rose over two GU defenders to snap a header back across the grain inside the left post at 13:07.
Notre Dame then got the equalizer exactly 12 minutes before halftime, thanks in large part to some individual brilliance by Henderson. The Hermann Trophy candidate gathered a pass on the left side of the penalty area, drove towards the by-line and then cut back on a dime, leaving a Georgetown defender in her wake. Henderson then swiftly drilled a low cross through the six-yard box past a diving Hanna and Barg was camped out on the doorstep for the easy tap-in to an empty net.
Having pulled level, the Fighting Irish had all the momentum in their corner, and continued that push in the second half. It nearly resulted in the go-ahead score in the 61st minute, starting with a well-weighted free kick from the center line by freshman defender Taylor Schneider (Southlake, Texas/Carroll Senior). Leon went high to flick a header on to Barg at the top right of the box, and in turn, Barg lofted a delicate chip to an unmarked Tucker just to the right of the penalty spot. Tucker had time to settle the pass, turn and shoot, but her 1-v-1 try against Hanna sailed inches wide of the right post.
The lost opportunity would come back to bite the Fighting Irish, who gave up a series of long throw-ins to Baker and the Hoyas starting in the 71st minute. After successfully clearing numerous Georgetown chances, Baker tried another long toss, which was settled at the near post by a GU attacker and played back to Baker on the left edge of the penalty area. Baker then sent a cross towards the top of the six-yard box, and a Fighting Irish defender went high to clear the ball, but instead the cross caromed off the right side of her head and re-directed back on frame and inside the far right post for the deciding goal (76:06).
Now trailing 3-2, Notre Dame had several chances to draw even once again in the final 10 minutes, starting with Leon’s 15-yard blast from the right side of the box that Hanna denied with a diving save to push the ball around the right post. That would lead to the first of three late corner kicks by senior defender Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa’s Academy), with Henderson heading one high over the bar, and senior midfielder/tri-captain Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) narrowly missing with a toe-poke to the right post from eight yards out with 1:50 left. Schuveiller had one final try with 26 seconds left, looking to catch Hanna off her line with a knuckling 30-yard shot, but the attempt landed on the roof of the goal.
Notre Dame returns to the pitch at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday when it plays host to Villanova at Alumni Stadium. A free live web cast and live statistics from this match will be available on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com).
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, join the Fighting Irish women’s soccer news Twitter page (@NDsoccernews) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the pulldown menu on the women’s soccer page at UND.com.
— ND —
POST MATCH NOTES: Notre Dame sees its 10-match series unbeaten streak against Georgetown come to an end, losing to the Hoyas for just the second time in 19 career matchups (and the first in 10 meetings in South Bend) … in the 10 prior series matchups since GU’s last win (4-3 on Sept. 29, 2002, in Washington), Notre Dame had allowed just four goals to the Hoyas … five of Notre Dame’s six losses this season (and its draw at Santa Clara) have come to teams that have either been ranked or receiving votes in one or both of the major national polls (National Soccer Coaches Association of America or Soccer America) at some point this season … the Fighting Irish fall to 30-4 at Alumni Stadium, since its new home facility opened in September 2009 … Henderson posted her sixth multi-point match of the season, giving her a team-high 12 goals and seven assists (31 points) this year … she also now has 64 career goals, one behind 2000 Hermann Trophy recipient Anne Makinen (1997-2000) for fifth in Notre Dame history … in addition, Henderson is up to 153 career points, three shy of Michelle McCarthy (1992-95) for 10th place in the Fighting Irish record books … Notre Dame drops to 39-3-3 when Henderson scores a goal and 50-3-3 all-time when she collects a point, with all three of the losses in both of those records coming this year (at Stanford, at Marquette, vs. Georgetown) … Barg scored her first goal since Sept. 20, 2009, in a 2-0 win over Northwestern at Alumni Stadium; it also was fifth goal of Barg’s career … in a prime example of stats not telling the whole story, Fox has allowed 11 goals in her three-year career, but three of those have been via own-goals (one on Oct. 3, 2010, vs. St. John’s at Alumni Stadium, and two on Friday night against Georgetown) … once again, Notre Dame players wore specially-designed uniforms (modeled after the 2008-09 Fighting Irish men’s soccer kits), with these jerseys available to the public via an on-line auction (UND.com/auctions) that continues through 5 p.m. (ET) Monday; the proceeds from this auction will go to the Steve Emrich Fund, which helps defray medical expenses for longtime Notre Dame supporter Steve Emrich, who has been hospitalized since late May with severe action myoclonus following a stroke, subsequent cardiac arrest and even a three-week coma that he has since emerged from (see UND.com/emrich for more information, or to learn how you can contribute to this cause).