Sept. 16, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Louisville’s Erin Yenney scored the lone goal of the match in the 56th minute and the Cardinals made it stand, upsetting No. 12/14 Notre Dame, 1-0 in the BIG EAST Conference opener for both teams on an overcast Friday night before a crowd of 2,501 fans at Alumni Stadium. The loss was the first for the Fighting Irish in BIG EAST regular-season action since Sept. 30, 2005 (a 4-1 defeat at Marquette), snapping a 62-match unbeaten streak in the process.
Notre Dame (3-4-1, 0-1-0 BIG EAST) doubled up Louisville in total shots by a 20-10 margin (including 13 shots in the second half alone) and corner kicks by a 6-3 spread, although the shots on goal were even at 6-6. The Cardinals also were whistled for eight of the 14 fouls during the match.
Christine Exeter had the assist on Yenney’s first collegiate goal, which came at 55:52. Louisville goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer came up with five saves to post the clean sheet, and also got some help from her defense when Casey Whitfield cleared a shot off the line just five minutes after the Cardinals took the lead.
For the second consecutive match, junior goalkeeper Maddie Fox (San Jose, Calif./Leigh) registered a career-high five saves for the Fighting Irish.
“There’s not a whole lot you can say about this one,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We obviously didn’t come ready to play, we didn’t have the energy, the drive and the focus, and give Louisville credit for capitalizing on that and making us pay. To say I’m disappointed is probably a huge understatement. But despite what some might think, the season doesn’t end after eight matches. There’s still a lot we can and will accomplish this season. Right now, our focus has to be entirely on Cincinnati, not Louisville, and not any other game down the road. That’s all we’re concentrating on at this point.”
Notre Dame had some good scoring chances early on in the contest, beginning just 45 seconds in when senior All-America forward/tri-captain Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) raced on to a lead pass near the right edge of the penalty area, but her sharp angle shot was knocked down by a diving Kiefer and then cleared away.
At the nine-minute mark, the Fighting Irish looked to have taken the lead when sophomore defender Kecia Morway (Lake Villa, Ill./Lakes Community) delivered a cross from the right flank that Henderson tried to volley with a bicycle kick and the ball deflected to sophomore midfielder Mandy Laddish (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Lee’s Summit) near the top of the six-yard box. However, Laddish was a step offside and her subsequent goal was wiped from the books.
Louisville (3-4-1, 1-0-0) got its best look of the first half in the 13th minute, as the Cardinals picked off an errant cross-field pass and Exeter got behind the Fighting Irish defense for a 1-v-1 look on goal. Yet, her drive from the top of the box was kicked away with a brilliant diving stop by Fox, who came quickly off her line to cut down the angle.
The only other solid look for either side in the first half came with seven minutes left, when senior midfielder Brynn Gerstle (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) lofted a corner kick from the left flag that was partially cleared by the Louisville defense, but right to Laddish at the top of the arc. She settled the ball with a quick touch, but her volley dipped right into Kiefer’s waiting arms.
A little more than 10 minutes into the second half, the Cardinals broke the ice, as Exeter tracked down on a long ball on the far right side, driving toward the corner before whipping a low cross back into the penalty area. The ball skidded through traffic before finding Yenney on an angled run from the left side and she buried a low shot from six yards out.
Now battling from behind, Notre Dame nearly got the equalizer in the 62nd minute, as senior defender/tri-captain Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) collected a loose ball from a corner-kick scramble near the penalty spot and drilled a shot that was ticketed for the inside of the left post. However, Whitfield stood her ground and was able to get a piece of the ball, keeping it out of the net before the rest of the Louisville defense recovered in time to clear out the rebound.
Schuveiller had another good look with 23:15 left, taking a drop pass from sophomore midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) in the mid-channel and firing a left-footed shot that Kiefer did well to corral with a dive to her left.
The Fighting Irish had one final tantalizing opportunity with in the 84th minute, as sophomore defender Jazmin Hall (Highland Village, Texas/Marcus) served a chip from the top right of the area and Henderson timed her run well, but her header from eight yards out just drifted over the bar.
Notre Dame will look to get back in the win column on Sunday when it travels to Cincinnati for a 3:30 p.m. (ET) BIG EAST match with the Bearcats at Gettler Stadium. The match will be webcast on a pay-per-view basis through the UC web site (www.gobearcats.com), while live statistics and a live interactive chat will be offered through the Notre Dame web site (www.UND.com) and the 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 was 58-0-4 in its previous 62 BIG EAST regular-season matches since that Sept. 30, 2005, loss at Marquette — since then, the Fighting Irish had been shut out just twice in conference regular-season play, both in scoreless draws (Oct. 13, 2006 at Connecticut; Oct. 4, 2009, at Pittsburgh) … Notre Dame drops its first BIG EAST opener since joining the conference 17 seasons ago — the Fighting Irish had been 16-0 with an 80-4 scoring margin (8-0 with a 42-2 aggregate when opening at home) in those matches … Louisville is the first Notre Dame opponent to score a goal in a BIG EAST opener since Sept. 21, 2001, when Villanova netted one in a 2-1 Fighting Irish overtime win at old Alumni Field … Notre Dame falls to 8-2 all-time against Louisville, with the Cardinals earning their first win over the Fighting Irish since Sept. 24, 1989 (a 1-0 verdict at the first home of Notre Dame women’s soccer, the since-demolished Moose Krause Stadium) … the Fighting Irish continue to create shots, having now piled up 136 total shots in their last five matches, an average of 27.2 per outing … Notre Dame also had chalked up 51 shots on goal in that time, averaging 10.2 shots on frame during the past five contests … the Fighting Irish lose at Alumni Stadium for only the third time in 31 matches since the facility opened in 2009 (the others were 6-0 vs. North Carolina on Sept. 4, 2009, and 2-0 vs. Connecticut on Oct. 31, 2010) … counting that loss to Connecticut (which came in last year’s BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals), Notre Dame has lost consecutive matches to conference opponents for the first time since Sept. 27-29, 2002, when an injury-depleted Fighting Irish squad fell at Villanova (2-1) and Georgetown (4-3) … Notre Dame is now 132-8-6 (.925) all-time in BIG EAST regular-season play and 169-12-7 (.918) overall against conference opponents (including the league and NCAA tournaments) since joining the BIG EAST in 1995.