Nov. 14, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – As a member of Notre Dame’s dominant defensive unit, sophomore midfielder Jill Krivacek has toiled in the shadows with little fanfare or personal attention. That all changed on Sunday afternoon, with the clock ticking down the final minute in regulation. The team’s most visible player – Katie Thorlakson – drove a leftside corner kick that found the head of one of the anonymous stars, as Krivacek parlayed her 5-foot-11 frame and quick thinking into a flick header at the near post. The ball ripped into the net for her first goal of the season and the Irish ran out the final 53 seconds for the NCAA second-round win over visiting Wisconsin (1-0), completing a dominating statistical day in which the hosts did not allow a shot on goal or corner kick.
Second-ranked and fourth-seeded Notre Dame (21-1-1) next will face Connecticut for the third time this season, in an NCAA third-round game on Saturday, Nov. 20, at Alumni Field (7:00 p.m. EST). Three BIG EAST teams remain – matching the ACC for the most among the final 16 – following a weekend that saw five of the top 10 seeds fail to advance (2nd seed Penn State, #3 Virginia, #8 Kansas, #9 Texas A&M and #10 Florida all lost this weekend, as did 13th seed Arizona).
Much as they have all season, Notre Dame dominated the run of play with an 18-1 shot margin while holding Wisconsin (16-6-1) without a shot on goal or corner kick. The Irish, who beat Eastern Illinois on Friday (4-0), have opened the NCAAs with two shutouts and a 35-4 shot edge, plus 21-1 in shots on goal and 10-0 in corner kicks.
Notre Dame’s postseason run, including three BIG EAST Tournament games, now features a 15-2 scoring edge, 91-19 in total shots (avg. 18-4), 51-7 in shots on goal (10-1) and an eye-popping 26-1 margin in corner kicks.
Krivacek again played a lead role in Notre Dame’s defensive domination (from her defensive midfielder spot), along with the veteran back line of senior central defenders Melissa Tancredi and Gudrun Gunanrsdottir and sophomore outside backs Christie Shaner and Kim Lorenzen.
Notre Dame now owns a 54-11-1 all-time record in postseason play (.826), including 33-3-0 at home (.917) and 28-10-1 in the NCAA Tournament (.731; 2nd-best in NCAA history).
Jill Krivacek heads home a Katie Thorlakson corner kick for her first goal of the season and the 1-0 win over Wisconsin.
The fourth Irish corner kick of the game finally produced a goal for a Notre Dame team that nearly scored twice in the early moments of the first half. Thorlakson – whose 21 assists this season include eight via corner kicks (four of them in the postseason) – had a positive vibe as she trotted to the left flag with the clock ticking under one minute.
“I had a feeling as I walked over there that it was going to be a goal,” said Thorlakson, whose corner also led to Friday’s first goal versus EIU.
“I just hit it in there and was hoping for the best. Jill got to the front post fast and had a beautiful flick, very timely.”
Krivacek originally was positioned near the center of the goal area but quickly sensed an opening to her left.
“I couldn’t ask for a better ball and I had the goalkeeper basically on my back and nobody fronted me, so I was able to get a good flick on it,” said the third team all-BIG EAST selection.
“I had a pretty good feeling I was going to be able to get to it first. When you start at 5-11, it’s pretty easy to get over people.”
Junior midfielder Annie Schefter nearly scored twice in the first two minutes of the game but the Badgers were able to escape and ultimately pushed the scoreless game into the final minute.
Wisconsin bunkered in and attempted periodic counterattacks, with a “sea of red” regularly challenging the Irish attacking players.
“I felt like if we could have scored just one goal early in the game, we could have broken it open with four or five,” said Randy Waldrum, now 115-20-5 (.839) in six seasons as the Irish head coach and two wins shy of his 300th overall win as a college head coach (298-125-24).
“Wisconsin has a good young group that is physical and organized. It’s a very difficult style to play against because they take you out of your rhythm. They clear it out and let you come at them again, so it’s like these waves of attack.”
Waldrum – who saw his 2003 team’s season end in a similar game (1-0 vs. Michigan) – came away impressed with the emotional toughness shown by the Irish in Sunday’s game.
“I didn’t sense that we panicked. I think we continued to play our game,” he said. “But I also thought we were very average today. We weren’t very sharp but we continued to play up until the end.”
Wisconsin turned in a well-executed strategy that nearly forced the game into overtime.
“The idea is to keep your team compact,” said Badgers head coach Dean Duerst. “We call it the line of confrontation and we did a great job of moving that line, never letting Notre Dame get in behind.
“They obviously are a very dangerous team with some of their speed and they also are a great combination team. We forced them to play balls to us and forced turnovers. It was our plan to get forward a little bit better but we started to lose possession too easily towards the end of the game.”
Notes, additional quotes and stats follow below:
Wisconsin (16-6-1) 0 0 – 0
#2 Notre Dame (21-1-1) 0 1 – 1
ND 1. Jill Krivacek 1 (Katie Thorlakson) 89:07.
Shots: WIS 0-1 – 1, ND 8-10 – 18.
Corner Kicks: WIS 0-0 – 0, ND 2-2 – 4.
Saves: WIS 6 (Lynn Murray 5, team 1), ND 0 (Erika Bohn).
Fouls: WIS 15, ND 16.
Offsides: WIS 0, ND 2.
Primetime Player – Krivacek now has totaled 1G-2A in 4 career NCAA games (2 GS), compared to 0G-3A in the rest of her ND career (42 GP/23 GS).
Last-Minute Heroes – The first 379 games in ND women’s soccer history had seen the Irish win in the final minute (regulation or OT) just three times but it now has happed twice more in the last 10 games … Krivacek’s longtime club and ODP teammate Jen Buczkowski scored with 44 seconds left for the 2-1 win at Georgetown on Oct. 10.
Best of the Best? – Duerst was asked to compare Thorlakson (who has 20G-21 this season) to Penn State’s Tiffany Wiemer (26G-12A), the only player in the nation with more points than Thorlakson: “They are very comparable and outstanding goalscorers,” said Duerst. “Wiemer has some people around her that play her through a little bit more forward. She scores a lot more goals on just breakaways and she kind of just hides out there whereas Katie is very involved in every aspect of Notre Dame’s game. … They are two of the premier players that I’ve seen in the past few years in the country.”
No-Goal Patrol – The Irish now own 14 shutouts this season, have held 18 of the last 19 opponents to 0-1 goals and have surged to 4th in the nation with a 0.52 season goals-against avg. (behind Princeton’s 0.41, Stanford’s 0.43 and Penn State’s 0.47) … the current GAA also ranks 4th in ND history (behind the 0.36 in ’97, 0.39 in ’00 and 0.49 in ’03) … the four backline starters (Tancredi, Gunnarsdottir, Shaner and Lorenzen) have combined for 233 career games played at ND (188 starts) while junior G Erika Bohn had logged 60 career starts with the Irish.
Pile-o-Postseason-Points – Katie Thorlakson has points in the last seven games, including 18 (6G-6A) in 5 postseason games … that leaves her one shy of the ND record for points in one postseason, set by Anne Makinen in 1997 (19, 8G-3A) … no other player in ND history has more than 15 points in one postseason.
Thor Keeps Thundering – Katie Thorlakson now is tied with Jenny Heft (28G-5A) for 3rd on the ND single-season points list with 61 (20G-21A), trailing only 1996 teammates Cindy Daws (72, 26G-20A) and Jenny Streiffer (66, 22G-22A) … her career point total now is 103 (34G-35A), in 66 straight games played … Thorlakson’s 21A are tied for 6th on that ND season list and no Irish player other than NCAA career assist leader Holly Manthei ever has posted more than 22A in a season … her 20G are tied for 8th in ND single-season history … she has totaled 45 points in 13 home games this season (15G-15A, 7 GWG).
Quick Hits – Since handing Seton Hall an early lead on an errant goal kick (Oct. 22), ND ahs outscored the opposition 22-2 … the Irish have more goals (63) than opp. shots on goal (59; 2.7/gm) and have allowed just 34 corner kicks all season (1.5/gm) … ND is 45-13-3 (.758) in the Waldrum era when facing a top-25 or postseason opponent … ND now holds a 12-1-1 series edge vs. Wisconsin (48-13 scoring edge) and is 50-8-1 all-time vs. Big-10 teams.
Other Third-Round Matchups (listed in bracket order) – #1 seed UNC vs. #16 Santa Clara … Nebraska vs. Illinois (site TBA) … #5 Portland vs. #12 Texas (winner plays ND-UConn winner on Thanksgiving weekend) … #15 Washington vs. Maryland … #7 Princeton vs. Boston College … #14 UCLA vs. Duke … #6 Ohio State vs. #11 Tennessee.
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH Randy Waldrum – “That goal was something we work on a lot and it normally goes more into the back post but Jill always is an option with her size. … That’s a great reward for Jill because she has been so good for us this year. She just does the thing she is supposed to do and does not get caught up in the stats or the glory. If we ask her to play a little bit more defensive or offensive, she does it. She doesn’t get rattled much and really has come on this year, even in the air. Even with her size, she did not dominate in the air like she is this year. She really has made strides in that part of her game and win a ton of balls when the goalkeepers punt them out. … We got out of it with the win and our health. … Candace Chapman is readjusting to playing forward and Amanda Cinalli is still a young kid and this was an eye-opener for her. Sometimes they aren’t in sync with Katie and we tried some different things today. But that all shows what Katie does because there have been several games where she’s had to carry it when the others aren’t in sync. It says a lot about what a great year Katie’s had and she is a tremendous model for the other kids to see, to play with a player like Katie and see how she handles different situations. It just amazes me how much she fights people off. She has been double- and triple-teamed for the past month and has had people all over her. That all makes her stats evern more incredible. Most scoring players up front just score goals and don’t do anything else but Katie is in the game for 90 minutes and she brings others in. You rarely find a player with those kind of stats on both sides, with goals and assists.”
Katie Thorlakson – “We were getting frustrated because we were getting chances and just weren’t putting them away like we usually do. We just had to stay with it and it finally happened. Our team is very good at staying focused all game and that’s the key for us right now is that focus. … Corner kicks and set pieces are very important in our game now. Once you get to this level, those are the gamebreakers and we practice that a lot and usually something happens for us. … They were a bit more physical and I just have to stay persistent and it’s going to come. You just have to be patient.”
Jill Krivacek – “It was a similar ball from the goal on Friday night but on this one I was able to redirect it to the net. It was unbelievable emotion. In the second half, we had the flow of the game. It was unbelievable to be able to help my team this way. I felt confident even if the game had gone to overtime. I’m so happy for our team right now, we really deserve it.”
WISCONSIN HEAD COACH DEAN DUERST – “Anything can happen in overtime. It was a classic game of our ability to defend and try to get forward. I credit Notre Dame’s ability to stick with it until the very end. At times we took them out of their game”