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Cincinnati Upsets Seventh-Seeded Notre Dame, 3-2, In NCAA Women's Soccer

Nov. 18, 2001


NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Sophomore midfielder Rachel Lieberman scored her second and third goals of the season in the first 20 minutes while senior forward Amy Simonson scored what proved to be her second gamewinning goal of the weekend, as the Cincinnati women’s soccer team held on to upset Notre Dame, 3-2, in second-round NCAA Tournament action Sunday afternoon at Alumni Field.

Notre Dame sophomore forward Amanda Guertin (Grapevine, Texas) set a Notre Dame record by scoring a goal for the 10th consecutive game-good for a share of third in NCAA Division I women’s soccer history, behind current U.S. National Team member Brandi Chastain (15, with Santa Clara in 1990) and former Hartford player Maria Kun (10, 1997).

The Irish juggled their lineup in the second half, with sophomore Vanessa Pruzinsky moving from defense to forward before scoring the game’s final goal with 13:10 left to play.

The loss halted Notre Dame’s home unbeaten streak at 39 games (38-0-1) and represented just the second time that the Irish have lost a postseason game at Alumni Field (26-2-0), including 18-2-0 in the NCAAs and 11 consecutive postseason wins at home.

Cincinnati (20-3-0)-which has totaled six goals while attempting just 10 shots on goal during the NCAAs-became just the second unranked team ever to beat the Irish at Alumni Field and the first to so in 11 seasons, since Creighton’s 2-0 win on Oct. 6, 1990 (ending an 84-0-1 home streak vs. unranked teams). UC’s three goals are the second-most allowed by the Irish in 33 all-time NCAA games, behind the 5-0 loss to North Carolina in the 1994 NCAA title game.

Notre Dame (17-3-1)-which had advanced to at least the NCAA quarterfinals in each of the previous seven seasons-played most of the game without the services of first team all-BIG EAST defender Candace Chapman (due to illness), with Chapman playing some of her minutes at forward. Another Irish freshman, Mary Boland, played just a handful of minutes at forward while continuing her rehabilitation from an Oct. 7 ankle injury.

Notre Dame finished with a 15-9 shot edge while attempting the only four corner kicks of the game.

Lieberman’s first goal came in the 13th minute, with sophomore midfielder Tasha Wagner’s run down the right side setting up Simonson’s shot from the right side of the box. Irish senior ‘keeper Liz Wagner deflected the ball near the penalty-kick dot but Lieberman raced in from the left side and redirected the loose ball into the net (12:12).

Five minutes later, a collision in the Irish defense allowed Simonson to get free again into the right side of the box. Simonson then crossed the ball and Lieberman scored from a similar spot, drilling the ball inside the near left post for UC’s second goal on just three shots.

Guertin-who nearly had scored on an early crossing shot that clanged off the inside of the left post-notched her 15th goal of the season midway through the first half, with classmate Randi Scheller providing the service on a free kick from the center of the field. Guertin ran onto the ball and launched a 22-yard shot from the right side, with UC senior ‘keeper Christy Hoffman stumbling backwards to make the initial lunging save but unable to keep the ball from breaking the plane (22:23).

Most observers agreed that the third goal, in the 62nd minute, provided the key moment in the game. Simonson-UC’s top returning scorer from 2000 who had just one goal this season before scoring twice in the 3-2 first-round win over Oakland-collected a loose ball in the center field before chipping a 30-yard shot, with Wagner a few feet off her line as the ball sailed into the top of the net (61:24).

UC senior reserve forward Leah Polaski nearly had scored minutes earlier, but her shot from outside the box kicked off the bottom of the crossbar.

Notre Dame later pushed Pruzinsky forward while bumping another defender, fifth-year player Monica Gonzalez, into the midfield (with just three defenders). Pruzinsky took charge in the 77th minute, dribbling in from 45 yards out and unleashing a strong shot in traffic, with the rising shot from the right side of the box ripping into the far side of the net for the second goal of her ND career (76:50).

Guertin scored 10 of Notre Dame’s final 16 goals in 2001 while posting points in 15 of the last 17 games. She totaled 10 goals and three assists this season in the team’s 12 “big games” (versus ranked teams and/or in the postseason), including three gamewinning goals.

CINCINNATI (20-3-0)     2       1       -       3NOTRE DAME (17-3-1)     1       1       -       2
CIN 1. Rachel Lieberman 2 (-) 12:12, CIN 2. Lieberman 3 (Amy Simonson) 17:02,
ND 1. Amanda Geurtin 15 (Randi Scheller) 22:33,
CIN 3. Amy Simonson 4 (-) 61:24, ND 2. Vanessa Pruzinsky 2 (-) 76:50.
SHOTS: CIN 4-5-9, ND 5-10-15.CORNER KICKS: CIN 0, ND 4.SAVES: CIN 5 (Christy Hoffman), ND 3 (Liz Wagner).FOULS: CIN 18, ND 21.OFFSIDES: CIN 2, ND 2.