Oct. 9, 2011
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Despite an overwhelming edge in shots and quality scoring chances in the second half and both overtime periods in its BIG EAST Conference match at Rutgers, Notre Dame wasn’t able to find the winning solution and wound up sharing the spoils with the Scarlet Knights, as Sunday’s matinee ended in a 0-0 draw at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J. It’s the fourth consecutive shutout for the Fighting Irish and keeps Notre Dame unbeaten in its last four matches, as well as six of their last seven outings.
The Fighting Irish (7-5-3, 4-2-2 BIG EAST) finished with a 21-9 advantage in total shots for the afternoon, including a 17-3 edge during the final 45 minutes and the two 10-minute overtime sessions. Notre Dame also ended with a 5-4 lead in shots on goal (3-1 in overtime alone) and had an 8-3 margin in corner kicks, while Rutgers (7-6-2, 2-4-2) was called for 15 of the 24 fouls in the physical contest, and each side was given one yellow card.
Junior goalkeeper Maddie Fox (San Jose, Calif./Leigh) registered her second consecutive solo shutout, and third of the season, making four saves. Rutgers netminder Jessica Janosz also was sharp with five stops, including three big saves in the first overtime period when Notre Dame outshot the Scarlet Knights, 5-0 (3-0 on goal).
“You’re never satisfied with a tie, especially when we had the upper hand as much as we did this afternoon,” Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We were a bit unlucky in the final third because we created some awfully good scoring chances. Sometimes, that’s just the nature of the game. On the other hand, it’s our fourth consecutive shutout and a sign that our defense is coming along. We’re starting to see that rise in our level of play and our consistency, while it’s not totally there yet, is getting better, and that’s encouraging.”
The first half saw much of the action played in the middle third of the pitch, although the teams did combine for 10 shots (three on goal) in the opening 45 minutes. Notre Dame’s best look came in the 29th minute, when senior midfielder/tri-captain Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) went high for one of her match-best six shots, but the header off a left-side service by senior defender Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa’s Academy) drifted wide of the right post. Rutgers had a similar look with about five minutes left in the half, but Ashley Medcalf didn’t get full power on her header off a corner kick, and Fox easily grabbed the off-speed shot.
Notre Dame then took command in the second half, taking 11 of 13 shots in the period, although officially each team only had one shot on goal during that time. The Fighting Irish actually did find the back of the net in the 51st minute, after sophomore midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) delivered a delicate chip into the penalty area and senior forward/tri-captain Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) quickly slotted it home, but the goal was disallowed after Henderson was called for a foul.
Three minutes later, Rutgers had arguably its best look of the second half, as Maija Savics collected a corner kick near the top of the box and drilled a long-distance shot that sailed well over the bar.
In the 58th minute, Notre Dame had another golden opportunity, as Henderson worked to the left by-line before cutting a pass back into the goal mouth where freshman forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita) and sophomore Adriana Leon (Maple, Ontario/The Country Day School) tried to latch on to the pass. In the end, the ball caromed out to sophomore midfielder Mandy Laddish (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Lee’s Summit) at the top of the area, but her shot was blocked and cleared away.
Henderson tried another sneaky move moments later, after junior defender Jazmin Hall (Highland Village, Texas/Marcus) lofted a service from the left flank. Henderson was making a run to the near post and read the ball’s flight well, trying to volley a shot past Janosz to the far right post, but the shot twisted just wide of the mark.
Amy Pietrangelo made an overlapping run down the left channel near the hour mark, but sophomore defender Kecia Morway (Lake Villa, Ill./Lakes Community) cut her off and cleanly won the ball away. Seconds after that, RU’s Logan White went into the book after upending Leon near the Fighting Irish bench.
At the midpoint of the second half, Notre Dame won a free kick in the right channel, but Schuveiller’s 20-yard drive narrowly missed the target, landing on the roof of the goal. In the 72nd minute, the Scarlet Knights had their best look of the match, as Pietrangelo intercepted a clearing pass near the midfield circle and pushed forward into the attacking third for Stefanee Pace. However, the Fighting Irish back line stood tall and didn’t allow RU to get a shot off before clearing the ball out of danger.
Notre Dame had another piece of brilliance in the passing game with less than eight minutes to play, as Laddish and senior midfielder/tri-captain Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano West) toted the ball up into Rutgers territory with a series of one-touch passes. Barg had the final touch in the sequence, sliding a soft through-ball on for Henderson in the right channel, but the ball rolled just inches long and Henderson’s desperation toe-poke went wide of the right post.
The first overtime session was even more one-sided, as the Fighting Irish recorded all five shots in the period, including three on goal. Schuveiller started the barrage in the 94th minute with a 25-yard drive from straight away that Janosz snared with a dive to her right near the left post. Schuveiller would have another opportunity in the final two minutes of the first overtime, with a left-footed shot from the top of the box going right to Janosz.
In between Schuveiller’s shots, during the 96th minute, Notre Dame looked to have the match-winner on its boot at least three times with a furious scramble in the box. The ball ended up squirting out to Bohaboy on the right side 15 yards from goal, but her rocket to the short side was parried around the right post by Janosz on a desperation dive.
Rutgers had a good look in the 101st minute, as Pace slipped a diagonal pass from the right side into the area for a cutting Stefanie Scholz, but the ball, Scholz and Fox all arrived at the same time and place, resulting in a thunderous collision that stunned both players and briefly led to a stoppage.
In the 106th minute, Janosz would have her physical challenge to deal with, as a soft backpass loitered untouched near the penalty spot before Leon and Janosz both sped headlong for the ball and collided heavily as the Rutgers goalkeeper fell on the sphere.
The last chance for either team came in the 109th minute, as Henderson went to work again, driving the left side and cutting a pass back for Laddish near the top left corner of the area. However, Laddish’s shot from 20 yards out drifted high over the bar and the final verdict was all but decided.
Notre Dame now comes home for its final three matches of the regular season, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (ET) Friday when the Fighting Irish welcome Georgetown to Alumni Stadium for a critical BIG EAST National Division contest. The Hoyas are in second place in the division with 15 points, one ahead of Notre Dame, with Louisville in first place with 17 points after their 2-1 double-overtime win at Georgetown on Sunday.
Tickets for Friday’s match between the Fighting Irish and Hoyas are on sale through the Notre Dame Murnane Family Ticket Office, and the match also will be webcast live and free of charge on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com), while live stats and a live interactive chat for that match also will be available on the new Irish UNDerground blog (www.UND.com/blog).
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 sidebar on the women’s soccer page at UND.com.
— ND —
POST MATCH NOTES: Notre Dame tied a school record with its fifth overtime match of the season, matching a mark first set in 2001 and duplicated in 2007 … this year’s three draws also tie a school record set in 1991 … the Fighting Irish now are riding a season-long streak of four consecutive shutouts, their best defensive performance since posting clean sheets in the first four matches of the 2010 season (technically, Notre Dame shut out its last three foes last year, as well as its opening-night opponent, Wisconsin, this year, but the current streak is the best in a single season for the Fighting Irish since the beginning of last year) … the Fighting Irish are 18-1-3 all-time against Rutgers, including a 7-1-1 record at Yurcak Field … Notre Dame is unbeaten in its last 12 matches against the Scarlet Knights, with Sunday’s draw the first non-win for the Fighting Irish against RU since Oct. 22, 2004, when the teams played to a similar scoreless draw … Sunday’s result came just 24 hours after the Notre Dame men’s soccer team had a nearly-identical dominant performance (and 0-0 draw) against top-ranked Connecticut at Alumni Stadium.