Sept. 28, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The second-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team headed into late September as one of the nation’s most balanced and dominant teams – averaging 3.6 goals per game while sporting an 0.49 goals-against average – and Sunday’s 8-1 win over North Texas only added more evidence of the Irish squad’s all-around strength.
Notre Dame (8-0-1) – which impressively has not allowed multiple goals in its last 19 games – already had found several ways to beat teams this season but the Irish kicked off a rare eight-game homestand by bringing back on old threat vs. the Green Machine, as senior Melissa Tancredi pushed forward from her central defender spot to score the second and third goals that essentially put the game away. The converted forward, who became the seventh different ND player to post a multiple-goal game this season, cashed in her strong play in the air to score both goals as the Irish resurrected another scoring force in the set-play service from senior Amanda Guertin, whose well-placed free kicks set up header and volley goals from Tancredi for a 3-0 lead midway through the first half.
Tancredi also was a leading force in another devastating performance from the Notre Dame defense, which has not allowed more than two shots on goal in each of the last six games (25 total in nine games). North Texas averted the shutout in the 67th minute while playing versus a lineup of mostly Irish reserves, with Melinda Pina scoring directly on a rightside corner kick for her 13th goal of the season.
Several other Notre Dame players got into the scoring act, as Guertin opened the flurry with her 42nd career goal, classmate Amy Warner added a goal and assist and sophomore Katie Thorlakson continued her recent surge with a pair of assists. Another sophomore forward, Maggie Manning, scored her first goal since the season opener while junior Mary Boland registered her team-leading eighth goal of the season and freshmen Lizzie Reed and Becky Tweneboah scored their first goals with the Irish.
North Texas (7-3-0) entered the game as one of the nation’s top-scoring teams (with 32 goals, or 3.6 per game) but the Green Machine suffered a familiar fate for most new visitors to Notre Dame, as the Irish now are 35-3-1 (since ’93) when facing a team making its first visit to Alumni Field. The Irish finished with a 31-3 edge in total shots and 20-2 in shots on goal, with an 8-2 corner kick edge.
Notre Dame raced to a 5-0 lead at the intermission, pushing its first-half scoring edge to 20-3 (after managing just a 12-10 first-half scoring edge in ’02). The Irish now are one of just five undefeated teams left in all of Division I women’s soccer, with North Carolina and Oklahoma State owning perfect records while Princeton has one tie and Boston College is unbeaten with two ties.
The Irish continue to sit near the top of the national rankings despite seeing several top players already miss 50 combined games due to injury – led by junior All-America defender Candace Chapman (ACL knee injury) and senior midfielder Randi Scheller (hip surgery), who both are sidelined for the season.
Guertin scored Notre Dame’s quickest goal of the season in the fifth minute, taking a pass from Warner and launching a 20-yard crossing shot into the lower right corner (4:28) for her fifth goal of the season. It marked the fourth time this season that the Irish have scored in the earlygoing (first seven minutes) while her 42 career goals leave her one shy of joining that Notre Dame top-10 list.
Less than two minutes later, Guertin lined up a rightside free kick near the corner flag and served the ball into the box, with Tancredi elevating for the header and her first goal of the season (6:12). The spirited Canadian scored all four of her goals in 2002 on headers (via Guertin corner kicks) and it marked her sixth header goal in nine career scores with the Irish.
The same combination hooked up for a 3-0 lead in the 36th minute, with Guertin serving a rightside free kick from 40 yards. Tancredi tracked the ball into the box and sent a lunging volley past ‘keeper Briana Buchanan (35:59) for the magical third goal, with the Irish now 97-1 in their last 98 games when scoring three-plus goals (dating back to ’95).
The Irish once again followed up with another quick goal, after senior midfielder Kimberly Carpenter slid a thru-ball into the left side of the box. Manning, who had checked into the game minutes earlier, ran onto the ball and sent home her third goal of the season for the 4-0 cushion (37:51).
Reed capped the first-half flurry after taking a pass from Thorlakson and launching a 30-yard shot from the right side, with Buchanan unable to handle the ball as is sailed over her head for the 5-0 intermission (41:56).
Warner kept things going early in the second half, dribbling by several defenders before drilling a 20-yard shot into the upper right corner for her sixth goal of the season and 33rd of her Notre Dame career (56:16).
Another goal followed six minutes later, with Thorlakson feeding the ball to Tancredi for a long cross from the left sideline. Boland was filling the middle at the near post and volleyed home her team-leading eighth goal of the season (62:41), besting her combined total from 2001 and ’02.
The Irish negated Pina’s goal in the lategoing, with sophomore Amber McMillin chasing down Guertin’s chip pass on the right endline and making a lunging effort to send the ball back into the goalscoring area. Tweneboah was in position at the far left post and knocked home the goal to end the day’s scoring (81:14).
NOTES: The Irish are averaging one goal every five total shots (one per every 2.7 shots on goal) … ND’s seven players with multiple-goal games are two more than the Irish totaled in all of ’02 (5) … Thorlakson has 10 points in the last 5 games (3G-4A) … Guertin’s 42 goals rank 11th on the ND career list, one behind Suzie Zilvitis (’92), while Warner is 14th on the Irish goals list with 33, recently passing Steph Porter (31; ’90-’93) and behind Amy Van Laecke (34; ’94-’96) and Shannon Boxx (39; ’95-’98) … Guertin’s 111 career points are 13th in ND history, one behind Zilvitis, while Warner passed Jen Grubb (83; ’96-’99) into 17th on the Irish career scoring list, just one behind Jody Hartwig (87; ’91-’94) and within range of Van Laecke (90) and Tiffany Thompson (91, ’91-’94) … Guertin and Warner now have combined for 75 career goals, 6th all-time among ND classmates (Van Laecke and Cindy Daws are 5th with 95 goals) … sophomore G Erika Bohn is 17-1-1 in her last 19 starts with the Irish (10 GA, 9 shutouts) … her last 14 fall games with ND include a 12-1-1 record, 7 GA and 7 shutouts … Bohn entered the week ranked 14th in the nation with an 0.52 GAA (now 0.48) … ND’s 0.54 team GAA would rank 3rd in the program’s history (0.36 in ’97, 0.39 in ’00) … the current 37-5 scoring edge is comparable to the program’s 5-year dominance in the mid-1990s, with those teams owning the following 9-game scoring edges: 43-5 in ’93, 41-5 in ’94, 38-2 in ’95, 50-5 in ’96 and 39-4 in ’97 … only three previous ND teams (2 in ’95, 4 in ’97 and ’00) have allowed fewer goals in the first 9 games … the current scoring avg. (4.1 gpg) would rank 4th in the ND record book behind the 1997 (5.5), ’96 (5.3) and ’93 (4.3) teams … ND now is 193-3-1 (.982) all-time when scoring 3-plus goals and 264-8-1 (.969) when allowing 0-1 goals … other quick-strike goals by ND in 2003 have comes vs. Hartford (6:32), Oklahoma (5:58) and Santa Clara (5:03) … the Irish are undefeated after nine games for the 9th time in the program’s history … ND already has scored 5-plus goals in four games this season, bested by just three previous nine-game starts (5 in ’94, 6 in ’96 and 5 in ’97) … the Irish still have trailed just once all season, for seven minutes early in the ASU game (Sept. 5) … ND now is 67-25-2 all-time in series openers (34-5 since ’93) and 47-8 in series openers played at home (20-3 since ’93) … the Irish are 119-8-2 (.930) in their last 129 home games … ND improved to 121-20-8 (.839) all-time in Aug./Sept. (92-7-4/.913 since ’93).
NORTH TEXAS 0 1 – 1
#2 NOTRE DAME (8-0-1) 5 3 – 8
ND 1. Amanda Guertin 5 (Amy Warner) 4:28; ND 2. Melissa Tancredi 1 (Amanda Guertin) 6:12; ND 3. Tancredi 2 (Guertin) 35:59; ND 4. Maggie Manning 3 (Kimberly Carpenter) 37:51; ND 5. Lizzie Reed 1 (Katie Thorlakson) 41:56; ND 6. Amy Warner 6 (-) 56:16; ND 7. Mary Boland 8 (Tancredi, Thorlakson) 62:41; NTX 1. Melinda Pina 13 (-) 66:37; ND 8. Becky Tweneboah (Amber McMillin) 81:14.
Shots: NTX 2-1 – 3, ND 13-18 – 31.
Corner Kicks: NTX 1-1 – 2, ND 3-5 – 8.
Saves: NTX 12 (Briana Buchanan), ND 1 (Erika Bohn 0 in 57:59, Nikki Westfall 1).
Fouls: NTX 5, ND 12.
Offsides: NTX 0, ND 0.