Aug. 21, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) and junior midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) scored a little more than two minutes apart in the opening stages of the second half, and Augustin later assisted on the clinching tally by junior midfielder Lauren Fowlkes (Lee’s Summit, Mo./St. Teresa’s Academy), as the third-ranked Fighting Irish kicked off their 2009 season with a 3-0 victory over Wisconsin on a rainy Friday evening at Alumni Field. With the win, Notre Dame moves to 19-2-1 all-time in season openers, including a 12-1-1 mark at home and a 9-1-1 ledger in the 11-year tenure of head coach Randy Waldrum.
Senior Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) and junior Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) shared the shutout in the Fighting Irish goal, with Lysander going the first 72:40 and making one critical save, while Weiss was not tested during the final 17:20.
As a team, Notre Dame (1-0-0) outshot Wisconsin, 20-8, including a 10-1 edge in shots on goal. UW netminder Michelle Dalton came up with six saves in the Badgers’ net, including three impressive stops in the first half on point-blank Notre Dame shots.
“I was a little disappointed with how we came out in the first half, but we looked much better after halftime,” Waldrum said. “You’ve got to give Wisconsin credit — they battled hard and their ‘keeper made some really good saves in the first half to keep them in the game. In the second half, we came out with a different mindset and I think it showed with how quickly we got those first two goals. Once we got on the board, we looked more composed and sharper with the ball, and our back four really played well in the second half.”
Despite the wet conditions, the Fighting Irish looked sure-footed in the early going. Junior defender Julie Scheidler (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard) broke free down the right flank and served a ball to junior midfielder Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) on the left edge of the six-yard box, but Dalton slid across and kicked aside Knaack’s low blast to the near post only 2:41 into the contest.
Dalton came up with another brilliant pad save in the 17th minute, as sophomore defender Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa’s Academy) lofted a ball from the left side into the box that deflected back to Henderson in the goal mouth. However, the preseason BIG EAST Conference Offensive Player of the Year was stoned on the doorstep by the Wisconsin goalkeeper, who poked Henderson’s shot outside the left post.
Augustin has her own point-blank opportunity with 24:15 left in the first half, picking up a loose ball in the box, turning over her left shoulder and firing a wicked blast toward the left sidenetting. Dalton was again equal to the task, this time with a superb reflex save to keep her clean sheet and send the teams to the locker room scoreless. Notre Dame outshot the Badgers, 10-3 in the first half, and had all six shots on goal in the opening 45 minutes.
Last season, the Fighting Irish were known for their ability to reel off goals in the blink of an eye, and with a fresh set of storm clouds on the horizon, Notre Dame delivered a pair of lightning strikes in the first five minutes of the second half. Henderson got the home side on the board 2:49 into the period, tracking down a chip by Knaack to the left side of the box despite being clad with a UW defender, and drilling a low left-footed shot that snuck inside the right post for her 18th career goal in only 28 collegiate games.
At 49:58, the Fighting Irish struck again, this time on a brilliant individual effort by Augustin. The veteran midfielder settled a Wisconsin clearing attempt 30 yards from goal in the left channel, turned and unleashed an incomprehensible thunderbolt that settled perfectly in the upper left 90 over a leaping Dalton.
With their all-important 2-0 lead established (Notre Dame is now 303-0-1 all-time with that advantage), the Fighting Irish still had to withstand a second-half challenge from the scrappy Badgers. UW’s best opportunity of the night came in the 62nd minute, when Erin Jacobsen collected a ball near the top right of the penalty area, turned and ripped a left-footed drive that was ticketed for the upper left corner of the Notre Dame net. However, Lysander tracked the shot all the way, racing back and reaching high over her left shoulder to parry the ball around the left post and preserve the shutout.
Fowlkes closed out any hopes of a Wisconsin comeback at the 68:31 mark, rising above the fray in the penalty area to meet Augustin’s pinpoint corner kick with a driving header into the right sidenetting. It was Fowlkes’ fourth career goal and her first since last Sept. 7, when she potted the gamewinning goal midway through the second half in a 3-1 victory over No. 12/11 Duke at the Carolina Classic in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Notre Dame will return to action next Friday, Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. (ET), when it plays host to Loyola-Chicago at Alumni Field. Tickets for all Fighting Irish home games this season are available through the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356), on-line at the official Fighting Irish athletics web site (www.UND.com/tickets), and at the ticket windows on the north end of Alumni Field on game night. Fans are reminded that for all games at Alumni Field, the north entrance at Courtney Lane (across from the Eck Tennis Pavilion) is the only way to enter the facility, while patrons should park in the Hesburgh Library lot, located northwest of the Guglielmino Athletics Complex.
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Friday’s game was played at the old home of Notre Dame soccer, Alumni Field, while construction is being completed on the program’s new state-of-the-art facility, Alumni Stadium … dating back to the 2002 lidlifter (a 3-0 win at Providence), the Fighting Irish have scored at least three goals in seven of their last eight season openers … Notre Dame improves to 12-1-1 all-time in the series against Wisconsin, including an 8-0-1 record at home … the Fighting Irish and Badgers had not played since the 2004 NCAA Championship, when Notre Dame posted a hard-fought 1-0 victory in a second-round game at Alumni Field, courtesy of Jill Krivacek’s header goal (off Katie Thorlakson’s corner kick) with 53 seconds remaining in regulation … Notre Dame’s three goals were its highest output against Wisconsin since head coach Randy Waldrum’s first season, when the Fighting Irish ousted the Badgers, 9-2 in Madison … Notre Dame stretches its regular-season unbeaten streak to 29 games (29-0-0) beginning on Sept. 29, 2007, marking the third-longest run in school history and only three off the school record (32, 30-0-2 from Oct. 17, 1993 to Oct. 1, 1995); the program’s current 29-game regular-season winning streak already is a school record, nine more than the previous standard set twice before (Oct. 24, 1999-Oct. 18, 2000 and Oct. 2, 2005-Oct. 8, 2006) … what’s more, the Fighting Irish have won 26 consecutive home games since a 2-1 loss to 14th-ranked Penn State on Sept. 23, 2007; the 26-game home winning/unbeaten streak is fourth-longest in school history — the winning streak standard is 32 games (Oct. 24, 2004-Nov. 24, 2006), while the unbeaten string record is 43 games (41-0-2 from Aug. 27, 2004-Sept. 14, 2007) … in fact, combine that unbeaten streak record with Notre Dame’s current run at home and the Fighting Irish have an astounding 68-2-2 (.958) record at Alumni Field since the start of the 2004 season (both losses were by 2-1 scores to top-16 opponents Oklahoma State and Penn State a week apart on Sept. 16 & 23, 2007) … Notre Dame also moves to 279-3-1 (.988) all-time when scoring at least three goals in a game, including a 181-1 (.995) record since Oct. 6, 1995 … on the defensive end, the Fighting Irish are 375-9-15 (.959) in their 21-plus year history when allowing 0-1 goals in a game … Notre Dame extends its goalscoring streak to 53 consecutive games, dating back to a 0-0 tie with Michigan to open the 2007 season — that streak is the second-longest in school history, topped only by a 55-game run from Aug. 29, 1997-Sept. 17, 1999 … Augustin posts the third multi-point game of her career, and first since her two-goal effort in last year’s NCAA Championship opener against Toledo (a 5-2 win on Nov. 14 at Alumni Field) … of the 25 healthy players on the Notre Dame roster, 19 of them saw action against Wisconsin, including four of the five active Fighting Irish freshmen (Lindsay Brown, Leah Fisher, Jazmin Hall and Tereza Stastny) who made their collegiate debuts … Friday marked the 250th game of Waldrum’s 11-year tenure at Notre Dame — he has a 212-30-8 (.864) record since coming to South Bend in 1999 … Notre Dame will hold its fifth annual soccer kickoff barbeque Saturday from 4-6 p.m. (ET) on the practice fields north of Alumni Field — free food will be provided by Famous Dave’s BBQ, while both the Notre Dame men’s and women’s soccer teams will be in attendance for autographs and photos (admission is free for the event).