Sept. 7, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Freshman midfielder Jen Buczkowski (Elk Grove, Ill.) capped her Offensive MVP performance at the Notre Dame Classic with two goals and an assist while fifth-year player Vanessa Pruzinsky anchored the Irish back line en route to tournament Defensive MVP honors, as the fifth-ranked Irish women’s soccer continued its impressive start with a 5-1 victory over Oklahoma on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame (4-0-0) – which now owns a 20-3 scoring edge in 2003, after scoring just eight goals in the first four games of ’01 and again in ’02- jumped ahead in the sixth minute before taking a 2-0 lead midway through the half when crisp passing from Buczkowski and Amy Warner set up Amanda Guertin’s 40th career goal. The Irish then answered OU’s lone goal with two more scores before halftime, as Buczkowski knocked in a far-post pass from classmate Lizzie Reed while sophomore midfielder Annie Schefter sent home a 20-yard free kick for the 4-1 lead.
Schefter picked up her second corner-kick of the season to cap the scoring in the lategoing, with the tight kick skimming of Kim Carpenter before freshman Molly Iarocci nudged the ball into the net.
The Irish improved to 17-3-2 in all-time home tournaments while finishing with a 27-4 overall shot edge vs. the Sooners (17-1 in shots on target), plus a 6-0 corner-kick advantage.
Buczkowski – who has credited injured senior Randi Scheller with mentoring her early progress on the college level – ran the Notre Dame offense with the poise of a veteran while totaling two goals and three assists in the tournament (she had 2A in Friday’s 3-1 win over #13 Arizona State).
Pruzinsky was the most consistent performer for the injury-riddled defense that nonetheless turned in a solid weekend while holding ASU and OU to a combined 15 shots (only six were on target) and four corner kicks. Currently a chemical engineering graduate student after graduating last May with a 4.0 (the third chemical engineering major, and first since ’74, ever to do so at Notre Dame), Pruzinsky missed most of the 2002 season due to nagging ankle injuries and saw her first complete-game action since 2001 in the ASU game (she also was defensive MVP of the 2001 ND Classic).
The 2003 squad is the fifth Notre Dame team ever to register three-plus goals in each of its first four games (also in ’93, ’96 and ’98) while the 20-3 scoring edge compares with the fast starts by previous Irish teams in 1993 (24-2), ’95 (24-0), ’96 (23-1) and ’98 (23-1; previous ND team with 20-plus goals in first four). The three-goal mark has been virtually an automatic win in the program’s history, with the Irish now owning a 191-3-1 all-time record (.982) when scoring three-plus (also 260-8-10/.953 when holding the opposition to 0-1 goals).
The last time a Notre Dame team posted three-plus goals in four straight games came during the 1999 postseason, versus Miami (5-0), Seton Hall (5-0), UConn (4-2) and Dayton (5-1).
Buczkowski scored her first goal for the Irish after a flurry in the box left a rebounded shot at her feet, with the quick 10-yard shot then deflecting off an OU player and settling into the far right side of the net (5:58). The Irish playmaker then set up the second goal with a pass from the left side of the box. Warner took the ball on the right side and sent a thru ball to fellow senior forward Guertin, who buried the chance for her third goal of the season and 40th of her career (becoming the 11th ND player to reach that milestone).
Guertin’s goal ended up providing the margin of victory, tying her with three previous players for third in the ND record book with 16 career game-winning goals. The top players on that GWG list are Jenny Heft (19; ’96-’99) and Michelle McCarthy (18; ’92-’95), with Rosella Guerrero (’96), Monica Gerardo (’99) and Anne Makinen (’01) also totaling 16 GWGs in their careers.
OU (2-2-0) scored five minutes later, when Lauren MacIver’s long ball sprung Becky Nelson’s breakaway for her second goal of the season (25:19).
The Irish restored the two-goal cushion when Reed looped a 30-yard pass from her midfield spot on the right side. The ball carried past several players and Buczkowski was making a run at the far left post, finishing into the vacated net for a 3-1 game (33:31).
Schefter – who returned to the midfield after splitting time at defense/midfield vs. ASU – scored shortly before intermission, on a 20-yard free kick from the center of the field. The former U.S. Under-19 performer and high-scoring prepster sized up the OU wall before drilling a low, rising shot inside the left post for her first official goal with the Irish (41:09).
Schefter’s leftside corner led the to the final goal, with the ball skimming off Carpenter at the near post before Iarocci nudged the ball into the net for a personal highlight in her first action with the Irish (84:12).
Notre Dame’s six all-tournament selections included Buczkowski, Pruzinsky and Warner, plus freshman defender Kim Lorenzen (played both outside and centrally), junior forward Mary Boland (scored first two goals vs. ASU) and sophomore goalkeeper Erika Bohn, who faced just a handful of shots on net but snuffed out several other scoring chances with agile play in the goal area while improving to 15-2 in her last 17 starts with the Irish.
Notre Dame’s season stats now include an 82-30 shot edge (45-17 in shots on target), plus a 21-9 corner-kick edge. The Irish are averaging 5.0 goals per game (compared to 2.2 in 2002) and have cashed in 24-percent of their total shots this season (compared to just 14 pct. in ’02).
In Sunday’s earlier game, ASU’s Brittany Cooper notched her second goal of the tournament in the final minutes of the first half. Stephanie Ebner played a perfect long-ball from the back and Cooper broke free before burying the chance for the game’s only scoring (42:03). Rutgers (3-1-0) suffered the loss despite holding the edge in shots (14-12, plus 3-3 in corners), with ASU improving to 3-1-0.
2003 Notre Dame Classic All-Tournament Team
Notre Dame – Erika Bohn (So., G), Mary Boland (Jr., F), Jen Buczkowski (Fr., M), Kim Lorenzen (Fr., D),Vanessa Pruzinsky (Sr., D), Amy Warner (F, Sr.)
Arizona State – Brittany Cooper (M, So.), Stephanie Ebner (D, So.), Amy LePeilbet (D, Sr.)
Rutgers – Robyn Jones (G, Fr.), Carli Lloyd (M, Jr.)
Oklahoma – Lauren MacIver (M, So.)
Offensive MVP – Jen Buczkowski (ND; M, Fr.)
Defensive MVP – Vanessa Pruzinsky (ND; D, Sr.)
Goalkeeper MVP – Robyn Jones (RU; Fr.)
Oklahoma 1 0 – 1
#5 Notre Dame 4 1 – 5
ND 1. Jen Buczkowski 1 (-) 5:58; ND 2. Amanda Guertin (Amy Warner, Buczkowski) 20:45; OU 1. Becky Nelson 2 (Lauren MacIver) 25:19; ND 3. Buczkowski (Lizzie Reed) 33:31; ND 4. Annie Schefter 1 (-) 41:09; ND 5. Molly Iarocci 1 (Kim Carpenter, Schefter) 84:12).
Shots: OU 2-2 – 4, ND 19-8 – 27.
Corner Kicks: OU 0, ND 6.
Saves: OU 12 (Catherine Wade 7, Keara Jones 5), ND 0 (Erika Bohn, Nikki Westfall).
Fouls: OU 7, ND 12.
Offsides: OU 1, ND 0.
Rutgers 0 0 – 0
#13 Arizona State 1 0 – 1
ASU 1. Brittany Cooper (Stephanie Ebner) 42:03.
Shots: RU 7-7 – 14, ASU 7-5 – 12.
Corner Kicks: RU 3, ASU 3.
Saves: RU 5 (Robyn Jones), ASU 7 (Kelly Fitzgerald 6, team 1).
Fouls: RU 15, ASU 11.
Offsides: RU 0, ASU 1.