Oct. 6, 2002
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The ninth-ranked West Virginia women’s soccer team cashed in three chances in a game that produced just 12 total shots on goal, as WVU clinched the top seed in the BIG EAST Conference Mid-Atlantic Division and ended Notre Dame’s chances at qualifying for the BIG EAST Tournament, 3-0, in Sunday-afternoon action at the Mountaineer Sports Complex.
Notre Dame (7-5-0, 3-3-0 BIG EAST Mid-Atlantic) remains tied with Georgetown (3-2-0) for fourth place in the seven-team divisional standings but the Hoyas would claim the fourth playoff spot based on the head-to-head tiebreaker, thanks to their 4-3 win over the Irish on Sept. 29.
The Irish still could qualify for the NCAA tournament – as Syracuse did last year, despite not qualifying from the Northeast Division for the 2001 BIG EAST Tournament – due to a challenging strength of schedule, including games remaining vs. Purdue, Connecticut, Michigan, BYU, Syracuse and Boston College. Notre Dame entered the week ranked fourth in the Great Lakes Region, behind #13 Michigan, #15 Marquette (which tied unranked South Florida, 1-1, on Friday) and #22 Purdue.
West Virginia (10-1-1, 4-0-1) – which has not lost since its first game of the season – opened the scoring in the second minute of play before adding goals midway through the first and second halves. WVU held a 14-12 edge in overall shots but Notre Dame actually had more shots on net (7) than the hosts, who converted three times despite just five shots on goal. Senior Melissa Haire picked up the shutout, with her seven saves including five in the second half (when the Irish owned a 9-3 overall shot edge). The Irish also owned the minimal corner-kick edge (3-1) and totaled 12 fouls, to WVU’s four.
The Irish again played minus three of their top defensive players, including junior left back Mary Boland and the team’s only seniors – defender Vanessa Pruzinsky and midfielder Ashley Dryer. An assortment of injuries now have forced six of the team’s top-13 players to miss a combined 37 games, including 10 by Pruzinsky, five by Dryer and two by Boland – plus freshman midfielder/defender Annie Schefter (12, due to season-ending ACL injury), sophomore defender Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (6) and junior forward/defender Melissa Tancredi (2).
Notre Dame owns a 42-game unbeaten streak at home vs. BIG EAST teams but the Irish now have lost five of their last eight games played on a BIG EAST opponent’s home field.
A short clearance set up the game’s first goal, with WVU sophomore Laura Kane collecting the ball and looping a 25-yard shot over the head of freshman ‘keeper Erika Bohn (1:43) for her eighth goal of the season.
Midway through the opening half, a WVU corner kick set up junior Chrissie Abbott for a shot but Bohn knocked the ball away. The Irish then failed to clear the threat from the goalmouth and WVU sophomore Leslie Barden knocked in the loose ball for her first goal of the season (22:23).
A cross from Kambria Riggins led to the final goal, with Abbott beating Bohn to the ball and sliding a nine-yard shot under the keeper for her BIG EAST-leading 14th goal of the season (72:58).
NOTRE DAME 0 0 – 0
WEST VIRGINIA 2 1 – 3
WVU 1. Laura Kane 8 (-) 1:43; WVU 2. Leslie Barden 1 (Chrissie Abbott) 22:23; WVU 3. Abbott 14 (Kambria Riggins) 72:58.
Shots: ND 3-9-12, WVU 11-3-14.
Corner Kicks: ND 3, WVU 1.
Saves: ND (Erika Bohn) 2, WVU (Melissa Haire) 7.
Offsides: ND 1, WVU 3. Fouls: ND 12, WVU 4.
Yellow Cards: Randi Scheller 1 (ND) 48:34, Melissa Tancredi 5 (ND) 52:59.