Oct. 10, 2004
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jen Buczkowski picked a dramatic time for the first gamewinning goal of her Notre Dame career, as the sophomore midfielder scored with 44 seconds left in regulation to help the top-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team escape Georgetown’s upset bid, 2-1, in windy Sunday-afternoon action at Harbin Field. This marks just the second time in the program’s history that Notre Dame (14-0-0, 7-0-0 BIG EAST) has won its first 14 games of the season and the Irish already have clinched home field for the BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinal round (ND, with three league games remaining, can clinch the BIG EAST regular-season title next weekend with a win over Boston College).
Buczkowski becomes the first Notre Dame player since 1994 – and just the third in the program’s 17-year history – to win a game by scoring in the final minute of play (regulation or overtime). Just four of the Notre Dame program’s 380 all-time games have featured a last-minute gamewinning goal (by either team) but Georgetown’s Harbin Field has been the site for two of those fantastic finishes – with Buczkowski’s goal helping avenge the heartbreaking loss suffered by the Irish on their previous visit to GU. The Hoyas won that day, 4-3, on a goal with 24 seconds left in regulation, in a game that also remains the only time in the last 10 seasons that the Irish have scored three goals and failed to win the game (111-1-0).
Georgetown (5-7-0, 2-3-0) claimed a rare lead on the Irish late in the first half but the visitors quickly tied the game one minute later, on another clutch road goal from freshman forward Amanda Cinalli. Junior goalkeeper Erika Bohn was credited with seven saves while extending her career record with the Irish to 41-10-1.
Notre Dame’s previous No. 1 team (2000) now is the only Irish squad to go deeper into its season without a loss or tie (16-0-0). Three other Irish teams (’94, ’97 and ’03) each started 13-0-1, with the ’94, ’97 and ’00 teams each going 23-0-1 before losing while the ’03 team reached 18-0-1.
The Irish – who have not lost on the opponent’s field during the past two seasons (15-0-0) – finished with a 22-12 shot edge and attempted each of the game’s four corner kicks. Notre Dame now is averaging just 1.8 corner kicks allowed per game this season (25 total) and has held four of the past six opponents without a corner. Notre Dame dominated the quality scoring chances in the second half while playing with the distinct wind advantage.
The past five weeks have seen the Irish play seven games on the road and just three at home but four of the team’s next five games (including the BIG EAST quarterfinal) will be in the friendly confines of Alumni Field. Notre Dame survived an adventurous weekend of travel in the Philadelphia and D.C. area and next will settle into playing its next three games at home (including just one this week, on Oct. 16 vs. Boston College).
The last Notre Dame player to win a game in the final minute of play was Michelle McCarthy, whose goal with 25 seconds left in overtime (119:35) completed a wild comeback vs. William & Mary, 4-3. Jody Hartwig’s goal in the 85th minute had forged a 2-2 tie for the Irish in that game buy the Tribe scored first in overtime (non-sudden death) before future All-American Rosella Guerrero answered with another tying goal.
The only other Irish player to score a last-minute gamewinner was future All-American Ragen Coyne, versus Wright State in the 1992 Midwest Conference championship game (89:24).
Buczkowski – whose five goals in ’04 have exceeded her 2003 season total (four, including just three in the ’03 regular season) – picked a prime time for her first gamewinning goal with the Irish. Freshman midfielder Jannica Tjeder set up the score with a low entry pass into the top right corner of the box. Buczkowski took the ball in a crowded box and eluded her pursuers before burying a low 12-yard shot inside the near left post (89:16).
Junior midfielder Annie Schefter had initiated the tying-goal sequence with a pass to the left flank for her classmate Maggie Manning, who had entered the game moments earlier. Manning then crossed the ball into the penalty area and Cinalli found herself unmarked at the top of the six-yard box. Cinalli – who earlier scored gamewinning goals this season in key BIG EAST road wins over Connecticut and Villanova – had time to settle the ball before roofing a shot over `keeper Jade Higgins into the topnetting for her seventh goal of the season, good for second on the team (41:39).
The Hoyas claimed the lead one minute later, with the service coming on Karen Waskewich’s deep free kick near the right sideline. Nicole DePalma sent the ball on to the far side of the box and Sara Jordan snapped a header the other way, with the ball sailing into the right side of the goal for her fifth goal of the season (40:40).
NOTES – ND is 34-1-1 in its last 36 regular-season games (26-1-0 in the last 27) … in 10 seasons of BIG EAST play, the Irish are 102-9-2 in all games vs. BIG EAST teams (83-7-2 regular season) … ND now leads the GU series 9-1-0 66-6 scoring edge) … the Irish have scored in 189 of 196 regular-season games over the past 11 seasons … Bohn is 41-4-1 in her last 47 overall starts with the Irish (one no-decision), including 2003 spring games and the ’04 Brazil trip … seven of Buczkowski’s previous eight goals in her ND career had come at home … the Irish had allowed just two 1st-half goals this season prior to GU’s score shortly before halftime (it also was just the fourth goal allowed by ND in seven road games this season) … the Irish are 17-0 the past two seasons (10-0 in ’03, 7-0 in ’04) when playing a regular-season game two days after a previous game (46-6 scoring edge), compared to just 4-5 in 2002 “bounceback” games (18-16 scoring edge).
#1 Notre Dame (14-0-0, 7-0-0 BIG EAST) 1 1 – 2
Georgetown (5-7-0, 2-3-0 BIG EAST) 1 0 – 1
GU 1. Sara Jordan 5 (Nicole DePalma, Karen Waskewich) 40:40.
ND 1. Amanda Cinalli 7 (Maggie Manning, Annie Schefter) 41:39.
ND 2. Jen Buczkowski (Jannica Tjeder) 89:16.
Shots: ND 9-13 – 22, GU 8-4 – 12.
Corner Kicks: ND 2-2 – 4, GU 0-0 – 0.
Saves: ND 7 (Erika Bohn 6, team 1), GU 5 (Jade Higgins).
Fouls: ND 16, GU 13.
Offside: ND 3, GU 2.
Yellow Cards: Katie Thorlakson 3 (ND) 22:41; Christina Araps (GU) 69:46.