Nov. 6, 2009
STORRS, Conn. – The No. 4/7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s soccer team advanced to the BIG EAST championship match with a 2-1 overtime win over St. John’s Friday Night at Morrone Stadium on the strength of a Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) golden goal scored with just over a minute remaining in the first overtime stanza.
For the game winner, Schuveiller rose above the St. John’s defense to head home a Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) corner kick after making a run through the center of the Red Storm box. It marked Schuveiller’s second goal of the year and third of her Irish career. All three goals have proved to be game winners.
Lauren Fowlkes (Lee’s Summit, Mo./St. Teresa’s Acad.) scored early in the first half to give the Irish a 1-0 lead, with the assist also going to Augustin, but the Red Storm answered with a second half goal to send the game into overtime. With the win, the Irish advance to the BIG EAST Championship game for the sixth consecutive year where they will face Marquette, who will be making its first ever appearance in the BIG EAST title match.
Junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) earned the win in the Irish net, her eighth win of the year. Notre Dame dominated statistically all night, ending with a 26-5 advantage in shots, a 9-1 advantage in shots on net and a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks but were stymied in part due to the play of Red Storm goalkeeper Kristin Russell, who finished with seven saves.
“I thought we played really well,” said Irish head coach Randy Waldrum. “It was a game we could have won by four or five if we had broken through and gotten that second goal. Defensively I thought we were really good tonight and on offense we just have to take advantage of the opportunities we have. As we go deeper into this, be it the BIG EAST or the NCAA’s, we just have to be more efficient with our chances.”
The Irish scored on the first scoring chance of the game off of a dead ball situation after Augustin was fouled on the flank, 35-yards from the goal. The 2009 All-BIG EAST Second Team honoree took the ensuing free kick and sent a dangerous ball into the middle of the box that Fowlkes headed over Russell from three yards out for her ninth goal of the year at 8:34.
The Irish continued to win the possession battle as the half wore on. In the 18th minute, Augustin nearly doubled the Irish lead when she headed a cross from Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) just over the cross bar.
St. John’s first scoring chance came in the 25th minute when sophomore forward Jen Leaverton uncorked a drive from the top of the box, but sophomore defender and 2009 All-BIG EAST First Team selection Schuveiller blocked the shot. Then, in the 30th minute, Henderson again filled the role of playmaker as she sprayed a pass out wide to an onrushing Fowlkes, who sent a shot on net that was turned aside by Russell.
After taking a 1-0 lead to halftime, Notre Dame came close to adding to its lead on two occasions early in the second half. First, in the 55th-minute, Julie Scheidler (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard) found some space on the near side and hit a swerving drive that Russell saved. Then, off an Augustin corner kick in the 57th-minute, Fowlkes sent her header just wide of the far post.
St. John’s earned a its first corner kick of the match in the 69th minute and tied the game at 1-1 when Nicole Doran glanced a header towards Notre Dame’s goal that deflected past Weiss for St. John’s first ever goal versus Notre Dame. Courtney Lane, who took the corner, was credited with an assist on the play.
With the score tied, the Irish increased the pressure. In the 72nd-minute, Amanda Clark (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) played a ball into the box that Fowkles headed high on net, but Russell again came up with the save, pushing the ball over her cross bar.
With 12 minutes left, Henderson played a ball outside the box that Augustin teed-up, but her drive sailed wide of the goal. Then, with just over nine minutes left, Knaack looked to have a chance to catch a through ball in the box, but Russell sprinted off her line to beat Knaack to the ball.
The Red Storm counter attacked with seven minutes remaining, but Schuveiller slid over to deny Lena Yee the chance to score. With a minute left, SJU earned their second corner kick of the match, but Weiss claimed the corner kick to diffuse the threat.
With just seven seconds left and the clock stopped, Augustin sent in a dangerous ball off of a free kick that was similar to the setup of Notre Dame’s goal early in the first half. The ball floated in and was deflected just wide of the SJU net to send the game to overtime where Schuveiller and the Irish prevailed.
“I thought Augustin, Barg, Schuveiller and Fowlkes really played well tonight and showed why they were award winners last night [at the annual BIG EAST women’s soccer awards banquet],” Waldrum concluded.
The No. 4/7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will take on the Golden Eagles in the title match on Sunday, Nov. 8. The game is slated to begin at Noon (ET) at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn. The game will be televised live to a national cable audience by CBS College Sports and on various regional networks via BIG EAST TV. For tickets, please contact the University of Connecticut ticket office at (877) 288-2666.
— ND —