Oct. 19, 2003
INDIANOLA, Pa. – Junior forward Mary Boland’s return to action featured her fifth game-winning goal of the season while sophomore goalkeeper Erika Bohn set the Notre Dame record for consecutive shutout minutes (789), as the second-ranked Irish women’s soccer team overcame the absence of defensive leader Melissa Tancredi to tie a team record with its eighth straight shutout, 1-0 over Pittsburgh, in Sunday-afternoon action at Founders Field.
Notre Dame (16-0-1) lowered its NCAA-leading goals-against average to 0.29 and now is on the verge of clinching the BIG EAST Conference Mid-Atlantic Division title, with a 4-0-0 mark in divisional play. The Irish – who also likely will play at home in the BIG EAST quarterfinal round (Nov. 1-2) – can clinch the divisional title with a win or tie on Friday night at Rutgers, with the team’s final BIG EAST game to follow next Sunday at Seton Hall.
Pittsburgh (5-8-2, 1-2-1) was the fresher team heading into Sunday’s action, due to a rare Friday off before a conference game while the Irish were busy battling BIG EAST rival Connecticut on Friday night, before traveling to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
The game was Notre Dame’s first away from home in four weeks and just the third on the opponent’s field this season.
Notre Dame – which finished with an 18-6 shot edge and a 4-1 margin in corner kicks – continues to avoid the pitfalls that have hit most of the nation’s top teams, as the Irish and top-ranked UNC have been the nation’s only unbetean teams for several weeks while the other 291 Division I programs now include just eight with one loss: top-25 teams UCLA, Colorado and Princeton, plus Cal Poly, Southeastern Louisiana, Central Connecticut, Maine and Hofstra.
Bohn’s personal shutout streak ranks 11th in the NCAA record book and surpassed the Notre Dame record previously held by Liz Wagner, who did not allow a goal in 701 minutes while playing for the 2000 Irish team that owned the nation’s No. 1 ranking. The current Notre Dame squad also now owns the Irish record for consecutive team shutout minutes (764), surpassing the 726-minute shutout streak posted by the 1995 national championship team (the only previous ND squad with eight consecutive shutouts).
Bohn lowered her NCAA-leading GAA to 0.25 (4 GA in 1,440 minutes) and has allowed just one goal in the last 14-plus games, with a 25-1-1 record in her last 27 overall starts with the Irish (10 GA in those games).
Tancredi – an emerging favorite for BIG EAST defensive player-of-the-year and All-America honors – was held out of action due to a nagging leg injury but junior Gudrun Gunnarsdottir stepped in for her fifth start of the season and 15th of her career, logging a solid all-around game while playing the full 90 minutes.
Notre Dame’s other starting central defender, freshman Christie Shaner, recorded an assist for the third straight game, doing so on a long service into the 18-yard box. Boland – who missed the UConn game while attending a family funeral – displayed her excellent ability in the air by flicking a strong header from 12 yards out, with the ball ripping into the upper right corner of the net for the 12th goal of the season from the Academic All-America candidate (21:03).
Bohn made three saves while her 789-minute shutout streak is third-longest in Division I women’s soccer since 1999, just behind a pair of shutout streaks posted by Denver’s Erica Izard (827 minutes in ’01 and 804 in ’02). The Academic All-America candidate needs just 40 more scoreless minutes to move up to seventh on the NCAA list and could reach sixth place with 67 shutout minutes versus Rutgers (former UNC ‘keeper Anne Sherow holds the NCAA record with 1,670 consecutive shutout minutes, spanning the 1987 and ’88 seasons).
Notre Dame’s string of eight consecutive shutouts is tied for 17th in the NCAA record book, with just seven previous teams posting double-digit shutout streaks (led by Santa Clara’s 16 in 1998).
NOTE UPDATES – Boland has opened the scoring four times this season and nearly has doubled her combined goal production from 2001 and ’02 (7) … no previous team in the ND program’s storied history has allowed fewer goals at the 17-game mark than the current squad, with the Irish now owning a 58-5 overall scoring edge. … the Irish now have held 14 straight opponents to 0-3 shots on goal (21 total opponent shots on goal in that stretch) … ND now has outscored the opposition 30-3 in the first half, after managing just a 12-10 first-half scoring edge in 2002 … ND’s goal total (58) is nearly double the opponent’s shots-on-goal total (37) … the Irish improved to 93-8-2 in all-time games vs. BIG EAST teams … the Irish have held their last 23 fall opponents to 0-1 goals, one shy of the team record set in 2000 … ND still has trailed just once all season (for 7:18 vs. ASU), with no deficits in the last 14 games (ND has led for 73% of the minutes and trailed for just 0.4%) … ND has allowed just 20 first-half goals in the last three seasons (over 59 games) … since allowing a 26th-minute goal by Oklahoma, ND has posted 11 shutouts in the last 13 games (with 2 GA, 56 shots allowed, 20 shots on goal allowed and 28 opponent CKs) … senior F Amy Warner has appeared in 66 straight games while making 60 consecutive starts … fifth-year D Vanessa Pruzinsky has logged 89 career games, with 87 starts (one shy of that ND top-10 list) … Randy Waldrum’s five ND teams have combined for a 90-16-4 record (74-13-3 in the last 90) while he is nearing his 200th career victory as a college head women’s coach (197-66-16 in 13 seasons; 273-121-23 in 22 overall seasons as a men’s and women’s college head coach).
#2 Notre Dame 1 0 – 1
Pittsburgh 0 0 – 0
ND 1. Mary Boland 12 (Christie Shaner) 21:03.
Shots: ND 10-8 – 18, Pitt 3-3 – 6.
Corner Kicks: ND 4, Pitt 1.
Saves: ND 3 (Erika Bohn), Pitt 7 (Jamie Pelusi).
Fouls: ND 15, Pitt 10.
Offsides: ND 2, Pitt 0.
Yellow Card: Pittsburgh bench (88:00).