Aug. 14, 2009
MAPLE CITY, Mich. – Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) scored twice, while junior midfielder Erica Iantorno (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale) and sophomore defender Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) each recorded a pair of assists as the No. 3 Notre Dame women’s soccer team scored three times in the first 14 minutes before ninth-ranked Virginia rallied late against the Fighting Irish second- and third-string reserves to forge a 3-3 tie in an exhibition game on Friday afternoon at Myles Kimmerly Park in Maple City, Mich. (located northwest of Traverse City).
Sophomore forward Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano West) scored the other goal for the Fighting Irish, who improved to 3-1-1 in preseason games against Virginia during the past five seasons. Notre Dame also moves to 9-2-2 in exhibitions under 11th-year head coach Randy Waldrum, including a 1-0 victory over the Ireland National Team on Tuesday night in Indianapolis.
Friday’s game with Virginia was played in three 30-minute periods, with the teams mutually agreeing to play their starters and top reserves in the first two periods, before getting the chance to evaluate their second and third teams during the final 30 minutes.
Caroline Miller scored twice for the Cavaliers, including the game-tying goal with two minutes remaining. Kiley Naylor also had a score for UVa, which has 16 players returning from last year’s squad that advanced to the third round of the NCAA Championship.
“We’ve got mixed feelings about today’s game,” Waldrum said. “I was very pleased with our play in the first two periods. At the same time, I was disappointed that we didn’t close the game out much better. We really appreciate the opportunity to play a great team like Virginia, because I think it allows both teams to get a good feel for where they stand heading into the season.”
As was the case on Tuesday night, Notre Dame played all three of its goalkeepers against Virginia, with senior Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo), junior Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) and freshman Maddie Fox (San Jose, Calif./Leigh) each getting a period in the Fighting Irish net. Lysander made one save in the first frame, Weiss did likewise in the middle period, and Fox turned aside two shots in the closing half hour.
Notre Dame wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard, finding the back of the net in the fifth minute. Schuveiller sent a long ball over the top to Iantorno at the left edge of the penalty area. She turned and served a low cross through the 18′ to Barg on the right side, and the second-year attacker settled the ball before snapping a low drive inside the left post past Virginia goalkeeper Chantel Jones.
Iantorno continued to pressure the Cavaliers’ backline and it paid off again in the 12th minute, as she smartly tackled the ball away from UVa defender Kika Toulouse on the right edge of the box. Iantorno quickly fired a shot on Jones, who was able to knock the ball down, but couldn’t control it, and Henderson was there to convert the rebound into an empty net.
Schuveiller came up big again in the 14th minute, latching on to a ball on the right side at midfield and switching the point of attack with a pinpoint lead pass down the left channel. Henderson trapped the ball with her left foot, cut back to her right to get a better angle and drilled a 15-yard rocket into the upper right corner of the net to give Notre Dame a 3-0 lead.
The Fighting Irish defense looked sharp for the most part in the first period. Virginia’s first (and only) dangerous offensive threat came in the 28th minute, when Caitlin Miskel teed up a rising free kick from 25 yards out that Lysander parried off the crossbar and the Notre Dame backline cleared away the rebound.
Weiss replaced Lysander in the Fighting Irish goal for the second period, which was largely played in the middle third of the field. Junior defender Julie Scheidler (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard) had three probing runs and crosses from the right flank, but the Cavaliers’ defense held fast and prevented a clear shot on goal. Meanwhile, UVa’s Meghan Lenczyk had a decent look from the top of the box in the 52nd minute, but Weiss dove to her left to swallow up Lenczyk’s low left-footed shot to the right post.
Virginia finally broke through in the 68th minute (a little more than seven minutes into the final period) after earning a corner kick. Molly McKeon played a ball in from the right corner flag, with Fox coming out to punch the ball to her right out of the six-yard box. However, Naylor found herself in the right place at the right time, and driving a header back into the crowded goalmouth, with the ball snaking through the Fighting Irish defense and into the net.
Ten minutes later, the Cavaliers trimmed the margin to 3-2, as Toulouse settled a Notre Dame clearing attempt at the center line. She then chipped the Fighting Irish backline, where Miller collected the ball, dribbled around an onrushing Fox and scored into the vacated goal.
With momentum clearly on Virginia’s side, the Cavaliers completed their comeback in the 89th minute. Miller won a 50-50 ball in the air 25 yards out in front of the Notre Dame goal. She then took a pair of touches to her left to clear space and lifted a rising shot that tucked under the crossbar for the equalizer.
The Fighting Irish will open the 2009 regular season next Friday, Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) against Wisconsin at Alumni Field (the former home of Notre Dame soccer, which will host the team’s first two regular-season matches while construction is completed on the new Alumni Stadium). For all games at Alumni Field, the public is asked to park in the University’s library parking lot (located east of the Hesburgh Library and northwest of the Guglielmino Athletics Complex) and enter the soccer field via Courtney Lane (across from the Eck Tennis Pavilion). Tickets are available at the Notre Dame athletics ticket office (574-631-7356), on-line through the Fighting Irish athletics ticket web page (www.und.com/tickets), or at the gate on game night.
— ND —