Nov. 16, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The second-seeded Notre Dame women’s soccer team saw its season come to a frustrating end on Sunday afternoon, with visiting Michigan using its only corner kick of the game to produce its only shot on goal and the game’s only scoring – with the Wolverines then continuing to bunker in for another defensive-minded strategy that yielded a 1-0 win over the Irish, in NCAA second-round action at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame (20-3-1) – which has played all season minus starters Candace Chapman and Randi Scheller – again had to cope with other limits on its personnel, playing the entire first half without senior forward Amy Warner and senior central back Melissa Tancredi (both are among the final-15 candidates for the Hermann Trophy player-of-the-year award). Warner missed her third straight start due an ankle injury before logging a gutsy nine-minute stretch in the second half. Tancredi was slowed by the flu but ended up creating some second-half chances after being inserted at forward.
Two other forwards – senior Amanda Guertin and junior Mary Boland – also played in limited fashion after sustaining injuries during training this week.
Michigan (11-7-6) managed just three total shots in the game, including none in the final 38 minutes after senior Stephanie Chavez had scored in the 52nd minute. That held up as UM’s only shot on goal in the game, completing an amazing stretch in which Notre Dame held 20 of its final 21 opponents to three or fewer shots on goal (including 12 games with one shot on goal by the opposition).
The game marked just the third postseason home loss in the history of the Notre Dame program (30-3, including 21-3 in the NCAAs). Michigan had ended Notre Dame’s unbeaten season on Oct. 29 (3-2), with Sunday’s game representing just the fifth time that the Irish have lost an “NCAA-rematch” game versus an opponent from the regular season (the other rematch losses include three NCAA titles games vs. UNC and the 1997 semifinal loss to UConn).
Michigan’s earlier win over the Irish saw UM cash in its only three scoring chances of the game, including timely conversions of its only two corner kicks in that game. The Wolverines on Sunday then made it 3-for-3 on corner kicks leading to goals, with junior midfielder Robyn Vince providing the service from the leftside flag.
Notre Dame failed to clear the ball and Chavez chased it down on the right side, quickly turning and one-timing the bouncing ball towards the lower right corner of the goal. Two Irish players were guarding the line but failed to stop the shot (51:38), as Chavez registered her sixth goal of the season in similar fashion to her goal that produced the 3-1 lead in the earlier win over Notre Dame.
The Irish dominated possession – both in quantity and quality – throughout the first half but struggled to crack the box for quality scoring chances.
The Notre Dame coaching staff then made some key tactical shifts in the second half, the first coming when Tancredi was inserted at forward to start the final 45 minutes. The BIG EAST defensive player of the year (and converted forward) made an immediate impact, including a run into the right side of the box in the 55th minute – but freshman ‘keeper Megan Tuura dove to her right to stop the crossing shot.
The Irish then shited to a four-forward formation while scaling back to three defenders, after the back line had spent just a handful of moments all game doing actual defending. The change created some more chances but most of the resulting shots came from outside the packed-in penalty box area, with Tuura making four of her six saves in the second half.
Notes: Notre Dame’s season-long defensive dominance included just 53 opponent shots on goal (2.2 per game), with the Irish totaling 20 more goals than shots on goal allowed … ND now is 26-10-1 in all-time NCAA Tournament games … all four seeds on ND’s quarter of the bracket (also Virginia, Colorado and Boston College) failed to advance to the round of 16 (the Irish would have hosted UConn in the round of 16, with the BYU-Villanova winner awaiting in the quarterfinals) … two other top-16 seeds (Duke and Illinois) also failed to advance while #3 seed Florida needed two double-OT wins and #11 seed Florida State also won in double-OT on Sunday … ND had been shut out just once previously this season (0-0 vs. Stanford, at the Santa Clara Classic) … Sunday’s game marked just the ninth time than ND ever has lost a 1-0 game (276-9-11/.951 when holding the opponent to 0-1 goals, including 81-3-4 since Sept. 9., 1999) … late-season injuries to Warner, Boland and Tancredi grounded an ND offense that had scored 63 goals in the first 19 games (3.3/gm) but managed just 10 in the final five (with a pair of two-goal games, the 2-1 loss to BC and the 1-0 loss to Michigan) … the Irish now are 29-9-2 during the last four season when facing a ranked or postseason opponent … fifth-year D Vanessa Pruzinsky finishes her career with 96 career games played (11th in ND history) and 94 starts (9th in the ND record book, 3rd among defenders) … the loss of Pruzinsky will be tempered with the hopeful return of Chapman in 2004 while Scheller is set to return to the midfield (where team leader and fifth-leading scorer Kim Carpenter also will be lost to graduation) … Warner and Guertin – who combined for 85 career goals – are the only other players that will be lost to graduation, with the 2004 returners set to include 13 players that logged significant playing time in ’03.
Michigan 0 1 – 1
Notre Dame 0 0 – 0
MICH 1. Stephanie Chavez 6 (Robyn Vince) 51:38.
Shots: MICH 2-1 – 3, ND 6-7 – 13.
Corner Kicks: MICH 0-1 – 1, ND 2-5 – 7.
Saves: MICH 6 (Megan Tuura), ND 0 (Erika Bohn).
Fouls: MICH 12, ND 20.
Offsides: MICH 1, ND 5.
Yellow Cards: Katie Thorlakson (ND, 5) 22:07, Kimberly Carpenter (ND, 1) 61:20, Katie Kramer (MICH) 63:25, Kim Lorenzen (ND, 1) 79:01, Christie Shaner (ND, 1) 86:08.