Senior midfielder Anne Makinen had a hand in half of the Notre Dame goals while drawing postgame praise from Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith as “the best overall player in college soccer,” as the fourth-ranked Irish women’s soccer team used a second-half surge to post a 6-1 victory at Alumni Field over the visiting Broncos, in Friday’s first-day action of the KeyBank Classic.
Santa Clara (2-2-0)-which entered the week ranked second in the national coaches poll-suffered its first consecutive losses since a three-game losing streak in September of 1994 (vs. LMU, Stanford and UNC).
The Broncos-who opened the week with a 2-1 home loss to Washington-also were outshot (23-10) for the first time in 19 games while ND’s six goals are the most by an SCU opponent in 20 seasons-dating back to an 8-0 loss to UC Davis in 1980 (the last team to reach five goals vs. SCU was UNC, in 1991).
SCU was missing much of the kick that propelled the Broncos to an unbeaten regular season in 1999 (including a dominating 4-2 win over ND) before losing 1-0 to the Irish in the NCAA semi-finals. Five starters from that ’99 team were lost to graduation (ND also lost five) while SCU junior defender Danielle Slayton currently is preparing with her U.S. teammates for the Olympic Games. SCU sophomore midfielder Aly Wagner also did not play Friday, due to a quad pull.
“Our team is just not ready for this type of competition and we have so many things that we have to work on in order to be ready for these type of games,” said SCU head coach Jerry Smith, whose squad next faces sixth-ranked Connecticut on Sunday morning (11:00 a.m.), followed by ND’s matchup with 10th-ranked Stanford (which opened the night with a 3-0 win over UConn).
Makinen clearly was dialed into registering one of her better performances of her Irish career while several other Notre Dame players likewise came through with key efforts, as the Irish improved to 4-0-0. Senior forward Meotis Erikson turned and whirled through the penalty box with regularity and notched the game’s first goal on a clever move in the 18th minute.
After SCU senior forward Kathleen Celio had scored her fourth goal of the season, a patented thru-ball from Makinen set up another tricky Irish goal-this time from speedy sophomore Amy Warner.
With SCU pressing for the equalizer midway through the second half, Makinen’s outlet pass sprung freshman Amanda Guertin for the critical third Irish goal. The hosts tacked on three more scores versus fading SCU in the final 10 minutes, including a penalty kick from Makinen and a pair of goals from junior reserve forward Kelly Tulisiak.
Notre Dame junior Liz Wagner made six timely saves for the biggest win of her first Irish season with any starting experience.
Both teams had strong scoring chances in the earlygoing, with Erikson’s leftside shot clanging off the right post and Guertin’s follow-up shot glancing off the chest of SCU junior goalkeeper Alice Gleason. SCU broke free moments later but Wagner held her ground and made the low save at the near left post.
Guertin set up the game’s first goal, after driving down the right side and dropping a pass back into the box. Erikson collected the ball and faked to her left before brining the ball back and tapping a low shot inside the right post for her second goal of the season and the 48th of her career (17:21).
Celio quickly tied the game, one-touching a volley from Veronica Zepeda, who had received a cross from Heather Aldama (20:26).
Less than two minutes later, strong play from Makinen and Warner pushed the Irish back into the lead. Sophomore midfielder Ashley Dryer cycled the ball to the top of the box for Makinen, who then threaded a thru-ball to her left. Warner-as she did throughout the game-then used her speed to reach the ball but peeled back into the middle and paused before waiting for Gleason to commit, producing an open-net goal (21:57). The score gave Warner four of ND’s goals in a seven-goal stretch.
The back-breaker came at the 73:13 mark, when senior defender Monica Gonzalez worked the ball to Makinen, who then fired a lead pass into the vacant SCU side of the field. Guertin stunningly broke into the open and had plenty of time to plan her move before dribbling around Gleason for her third goal of the young season and a 3-1 lead (73:13).
“I think what happened was that they pressed so hard in the second half to get the tying goal and then when we got the third goal and kind of dominated for a period of time, it just kind of psychologically lets you done,” said Irish head coach Randy Waldrum.
Makinen converted her PK into the upper left corner (80:04) for her fourth goal of the season and the 55th of her career, tying Rosella Guerrero (’96) for sixth in ND history. Makinen’s four-point night also moved her past ’96 graduate Michelle McCarthy into sixth place on the ND career scoring list, with 157 points.
The depleted SCU defense continued to struggle in the closing moments, with Warner’s cross setting up Tulisiak’s score into the open net (86:30). Tulisiak then netted her third goal of the season and fifth of her career, after converting a loose ball following a flurry of Irish shots (89:06).
SANTA CLARA 1 0 – 1
NOTRE DAME 2 4 – 6
ND 1. Meotis Erikson 2 (Guertin) 17:21, SCU 1. Kathleen Celio 4 (Zepeda/Aldama) 20:26, ND 2. Amy Warner 4 (Makinen, Dryer) 21:57, ND 3. Amanda Guertin 3 (Makinen/Gonzalez) 73:13, ND 4. Makinen (penalty kick) 80:04, ND 5. Kelly Tulisiak 2 (Warner) 86:30, ND 6. Tulisiak 3 (unassisted) 89:06.
SHOTS: SCU 6-4/10, ND 15-8/23.
SAVES: SCU (Gleason) 6-2/8, ND (Wagner) 2-4/6.
Corner Kicks: SCU 2, ND 3.
Fouls: SCU 18, ND 19.
Offside: SCU 4, ND 3.
MORE POSTGAME COMMENTS
SCU’S JERRY SMITH: “The difference is the depth. We had 13 healthy players and depth takes over late in a game. … Our team was spent at the end of the game. We just have too many people out. … I think that’s what the difference was in the last 15 minutes of the game. Their team was a lot fresher than ours was. … We knew that this type of game was possible. … Notre Dame has added a lot of speed to their team, that’s a big difference. I just see a lot of speed and a lot of depth in their team. … Anne Makinen is the best player in college soccer. She is a great international player, let alone a great college player. The international game is a much tougher game to be good than the college level. … I have such a high opinion of (Anne) that she would have to play just awesome for me to be kind of surprised. We talked about it in our team meeting. We just don’t have enough players that can kind of corral her.”
ND’s AMY WARNER: “I wouldn’t,t say that I am an impact player yet. I’m just at the end of what a lot of my teammates put together. When you play with players like that, all you have to do is make a run and they put it there for you. So I’m not really doing what they’re doing. .. My speed is all I have. I’m getting some skill with it. It gives you the extra step to think and that contributes a lot to my game. … You just feel like you owe (a game like this) to the older players. What’s the point of putting the work in to come out her and demonstrate a poor showing?”
ND’s ANNE MAKINEN: “I think we can go all the way if we play like we played tonight. It was a surprise. I was expecting a much closer game. … They beat us pretty bad last season and then we came back and beat them. So we were kind of ready for them to step up and play tough. … It’s a great honor to hear (the praise from coach Smith). But it’s a team sport and I can only do my part. … I’ve played the top teams in the world. It’s a lot faster, a lot harder. You’ve got to play the ball or you get killed. And, I guess, that’s the only way to learn.”
ND’S RANDY WALDRUM: “To win by that margin, it’s a real surprise. I thought it would be a tight game. But in fairness to Santa Clara, they are without two national team players. We understand what it’s like when we don’t have Anne. It’s a great win for us but it’s not something to get too excited about. … Anne was all over the place tonight. She was winning balls all night, she was springing people in and creating chances for others and herself. She is a very complete player. She can do it all. … I didn’t think that defensively we played a good game tonight, including the defensive play of our midfielders. … Liz Wagner was great in goal for us. Early in the first half when we missed a backside trap, she came up with a breakaway save and she had several saves in the second half that keep it from being tied. She played a big part in the win tonight.”