Notre Dame Women’s Soccer
NCAA Women’s College Cup championship game notes
Notre Dame vs. North Carolina
December 5, 1999

Championship preview: For the third time in the 1990’s, Notre Dame and North Carolina, the top teams in the 90s in wins and winning percentage, will meet in the championship game of the NCAA Women’s College Cup. The Tar Heels beat the Irish in the 5-0 1994 at Portland and 1-0 in double overtime in 1996 at Santa Clara to win two of their 14 NCAA titles. The teams also met in the 1995 semifinals, a 1-0 Irish win at North Carolina’s Fetzer Field.

The Series: There have been 10 previous meetings between the Irish and Tar Heels with North Carolina holding a 6-2-2 lead in the series. Notre Dame lost a 3-2 double-overtime. season-opening game to North Carolina on September 3. The Irish led 2-1 on goals from Monica Gonzalez and Mia Sarkesian before Kim Patrick sent the game to overtime with a goal with 2:56 left in regulation. Meredith Florance scored the game winner in the 114th minute.

Notre Dame is one of two collegiate teams, along with Connecticut, to have beaten North Carolina more than once. The Irish followed up the 1-0 in the 1995 NCAA semifinals with a 2-1 win in double overtime on October 4, 1996, on two goals by then freshman Jenny Streiffer. North Carolina has beaten Notre Dame more than any other team, with Duke’s three wins the second most. Five of Notre Dame’s 12 losses since 1994 have come against the Tar Heels.

Irish Oust Conference Champions, Three Top-Eight Teams: The BIG EAST champion Irish have advanced to the 1999 NCAA Women’s College Cup championship game by eliminating the champions of four conferences: Atlantic 10(Dayton), Pacific-10(Stanford), Big XII(Nebraska) and West Coast (Santa Clara). Notre Dame also has ousted three teams ranked in the top eight of the National Soccer Coaches Association top 25. The Irish shut out eighth-ranked Stanford in the NCAA third round before traveling to fourth-ranked Nebraska and advancing on penalty kicks, snapping the Cornhuskers 14-game winning streak. Notre Dame then traveled to the Women’s College Cup and beat the top-ranked Broncos from nearby Santa Clara, snapping their 23-game winning streak.

Top Two Teams In 1990s, Close Out 90s In NCAA Final: The final NCAA Women’s soccer championship of the 1990s will pit the top two teams of the 90s in the title game. Notre Dame enters the final with a 196-25-11 (.869) record during the 90s for the second-most wins and the second-highest winning percentage. North Carolina leads all schools with 242 wins and a .966 winning percentage.]

Irish Break Out Green Jerseys: For just the third game in its 12-year history, the Notre Dame women’s soccer team played in green jerseys against Santa Clara and improved to 3-0-0 in those games. The Irish beat top-ranked North Carolina 1-0 in Chapel Hill in the 1995 NCAA semifinals and then won their first NCAA title with a 1-0 triple-overtime win in green over unbeaten Portland in the ’95 championship game.

Waldrum First First-Year Coach In NCAA Final: First-year Irish head coach Randy Waldrum has lad Notre Dame to the Women’s College Cup final to become the first coach to take a team to the championship game in his or her first year at the school in the 18 NCAA women’s soccer championships that have been held since 1982.

Irish Vs. No. 1: After Friday’s 1-0 win over top-ranked Santa Clara, Notre Dame now has beaten or tied a No. 1 team in five of its nine meetings with a 3-4-2 against the No. 1 team. The Irish were 0-2-0 in ’99 before Friday’s game after losing to then-No. 1 North Carolina in their season opener and falling 4-2 to Santa Clara in their first meeting with the Broncos in ’99. The first seven of Notre Dame’s nine meetings with top-ranked teams came against North Carolina.

Irish Defense Tough In NCAA Tournament: After allowing 20 goals in 21 games entering the NCAA tournament, Notre Dame’s defense and All-American goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene have yielded just two goals in the four NCAA tournament games. Since allowing a 40th-minute goal to Dayton in the NCAA second round, the Irish have allowed one goal in the last 380:45 they have played. The Irish allowed Nebraska, the second-highest scoring team in the country, a goal at 17:07 before shutting out the Cornhuskers for the final 132:53 of the four-overtime quarterfinal game. Against Santa Clara, Notre Dame shut out the nation’s highest-scoring offense that entered the game averaging 4.7 goals per game.

Beene Perfect Against Broncos: In addition to saving seven Santa Clara shots, senior captain LaKeysia Beene had her hands on 17 other Bronco scoring opportunities. Beene snagged six crosses, including four in the second half, smothered five through balls, secured two deflected shots and took care of four other services inside the box.

Irish Spoil Partisan Crowds: Friday’s game marked the second consecutive weekend Notre Dame played in front of a partisan crowd and advanced in the NCAA tournament. A record crowd of 3.702 fans went to Nebraska’s Abbott Sports Complex to watch Notre Dame and Nebraska battle to a shoot-out before the Irish advanced 4-3 in penalty kicks. Friday’s crowd of 14,006, the biggest in NCAA women’s soccer history and largely behind nearby Santa Clara, watched Ali Lovelace score in the 75th minute to defeat the Broncos. Notre Dame’s 1-0 win over North Carolina in the 1995 NCAA semifinals drew 7,212 fans to the Tar Heels’ Fetzer Field, then the largest crowd in NCAA women’s soccer history. Notre Dame beat Portland 1-0 in front of 5,000 fans at the Pilots’ Merlo Field in the 1994 NCAA semifinals.

Unlikely Heroes Lead Irish Into Final: For the third straight game Notre Dame has advanced thanks to an unlikely hero. Against Stanford in the third round sophomore Mia Sarkesian scored her third goal of the season in the 81st minute of Notre Dame’s 1-0 win. Against Nebraska in the quarterfinals after the teams were tied 3-3 after the first five penalty kicks, junior defender Kelly Lindsey, who is the only Irish starting field player without a point and has taken only three shots this season, hit the decisive penalty kick. Freshman Ali Lovelace’s goal in the 75th minute against Santa Clara was just her fourth goal of the season. She scored twice against Miami in the BIG BEAST championship quarterfinals and against Connecticut in the BIG EAST final.