November 20, 1998
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Irish junior Jenny Heft tied the game just 1:57 after Nebraska scored first at 51:41, and senior Monica Gerardo scored the game-winning goal at 70:06 as the fourth-seeded Notre Dame women’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals with a 2-1 win over 13th-ranked and unseeded Nebraska on Friday at Alumni Field. The win sends Notre Dame into the quarterfinals to face the winner of Sunday’s Portland-San Diego State game and improves its record to 21-2-1. Nebraska ends its season at 17-4-1. The Irish also ended the Cornhuskers’ season last year with a 6-0 NCAA second-round win at Alumni Field.
Cornhusker sophomore Lauren Tatum opened the scoring with a chip shot that sailed over Irish goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene’s head into the upper center of the net. Heft then scored on Notre Dame’s next shot when Jen Grubb’s corner kick was not clear cleanly, and the ball came to Heft, who scored at 53:38. Gerardo finished a sequence from defender Kelly Lindsey and midfielder Jenny Streiffer for the decisive goal. Lindsey made a run from the back up the left sideline and passed to Streiffer, who touched the ball back to Lindsey at the left endline. Lindsey then found Gerardo open at the left post and slipped a pass through two Nebraska defenders. Gerardo fired the shot into the right corner.
The first half saw Notre Dame miss out on numerous scoring opportunities, as Husker goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc was perfect in the net in the first half. She made 10 saves in the game, including numerous acrobatic and point-blank saves, nearly single-handedly keeping Nebraska in the game. She played what Irish head coach Chris Petrucelli called “the best game ever by a goalkeeper against us at Alumni Field.”
Heft nearly put the Irish on the board just 35 second into the second half when she received a ball that split the Nebraska backline just past midfield. With LeBlanc charging well out of the box, Heft looped a shot from 40 yards out that bounced five yards in front of the net and just over the crossbar.
The Irish outshot the Cornhuskers 22-11, including 14-5 in the first half and had seven corner kicks to the Huskers’ five in an offensive game played endline-to-endline. Nebraska was whistled for 22 fouls and four cards to Notre Dame’s 17 fouls and one yellow card. Husker midfielder Amy Walsh was issued a red card for taking down Heft from behind on a breakaway just outside the box at 86:43.
Heft’s and Gerardo’s goals broke two of former Irish All-American Cindy Daws’ school records. Heft scored her 27th goal of the year, topping the single-season mark of 26 set by Daws in 1996. Gerardo’s goal upped her career point total to 190 points (73 goals and 44 assists), eclipsing the 189 points Daws’ recorded from 1993-96. Gerardo moved into a tie for 14th on the NCAA all-time scoring list.