Sept. 2, 2001
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The fourth-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team used a makeshift lineup and another timely goal from senior forward Kelly Tulisiak to help defeat 25th-ranked Hartford, 2-0, in Sunday afternoon action at the Key Bank Classic.
With the win, Notre Dame (2-0-0) tied a team record by posting its 28th consecutive victory at Alumni Field. The Irish have not tasted defeat at home since a heartbreaking 3-2, double-overtime loss to top-ranked North Carolina in the 1999 season opener-with the current home winning streak ranking fifth in NCAA history and including 10 wins over top-25 nationally-ranked teams (five vs. top-10 teams). The 1992-95 Irish teams also combined to win 28 straight at home, with seven wins over top-25 teams and five vs. top-10 opponents.
The Irish also are 23-0-1 in their last 24 overall regular-season games and are 101-3-1 in their last 105 games at Alumni Field (.967), with a 72-12 scoring edge in the current 28-game home winning streak. Since the first 28-game streak ended with a 5-4 overtime loss to Connecticut on Oct. 6, 1995, the Irish are 73-2-1 in their last 76 home games (also 96.7 pct.). The other recent home loss came to Portland in the 1998 NCAA quarterfinals (2-1) while the tie was vs. UNC, on Sept. 19, 1997 (2-2).
Notre Dame again had to cope with the absence of three of its top players. Junior midfielder Ashley Dryer remained sidelined while recovering from mononucleosis while freshman Mary Boland-Dryer’s replacement in Friday’s 2-1 win over 8th-ranked Penn State-is out indefinitely due to a leg injury suffered in the final seconds of the PSU game. Promising sophomore forward Melissa Tancredi likewise did not play as she continues to work towards her first regular-season appearance with the Irish (she missed all of 2000 due to injury).
The Irish tried a variety of formations on Sunday, with freshman Candace Chapman and senior Monica Gonzalez each seeing time at forward, midfield and defense. Freshman Gudrun Gunnarsdottir had a solid starting debut at the central marking back position, alongside junior Vanessa Pruzinsky (who was named the Key Bank Classic defensive MVP).
Tulisiak-who now owns seven career goals on just 30 shots-found the net with 23 minutes left to play, just five minutes after checking into the game. Amy Warner set the sequence in motion, using her speed and moves to work into the right side of the box before her low shot was cleared off the goalline by a Hartford defender guarding the near post.
Warner then poked the deflected ball to Tulisiak, whose quick shot was knocked down by Hawks ‘keeper Anne Lise Nilssen. But Tulisiak sent the second deflection into open side of the goal, with the ball sailing into the upper left corner for the 1-0 lead (66:59).
Warner capped the scoring with 1:59 left to play, with fellow sophomore forward Amanda Guertin assisting on a cross from the left flank. Warner collected the ball on the right side and outran her defender before striking a low shot inside the far left post (88:01).
Tulisiak, who also assisted on Friday’s game-winning goal, was one of four Irish players named to the Key Bank Classic all-tournament team (see below). Notre Dame finished with a 14-4 shot advantage (10-1 in the second half) while attempting six corner kicks to Hartford’s two.
Sunday marked the first-ever meeting between Notre Dame and Hartford, with the Irish now winning their last 16 series openers (26-3-0 since 1993). Since ’93, teams making their first visit to Alumni Field are 1-29-1 vs. the Irish in those games (the Irish are 39-6-0 in all series openers played at home).
Notre Dame is four victories shy of tying for the third-longest home winning streak in NCAA history, with the top four on that list belonging to North Carolina (84 from ’86-’94, 40 from ’81-’84, 29 from ’96-’99) and Santa Clara (32, from ’97-’00).
ND HEAD COACH RANDY WALDRUM: “We tried a lot of different combinations up front and I didn’t think any of it really worked. I wasn’t real happy with our play in the midfield and when you have those two areas that are problems, it puts your backs under a lot of pressure. But give Hartford some credit because they came out and played very hard today. But at the same time, we weren’t very sharp. … We had to kind of tweak the lineup a little bit and we wanted to get ‘Gunna’ a start today in the back, and she was fairly solid in her debut. But we did shuffle things a little bit and it may have thrown us off from being in sync some. … Kelly historically has come in and made some things happen and creates with the intensity of her play. It was good to see her get a goal and Kim Carpenter also came in and did a pretty solid job for us in the midfielder.”
KELLY TULISIAK: “I like that role where I can come in and try to bring the team up, get people excited. Amy had it up top and did a lot of work to get me a good ball. I just made sure that I was in the right angle for her to play it back to me. I ended up hitting it once and the ‘keeper deflected it and I was able to place it into the corner.”
HARTFORD HEAD COACH EWA BERGSTEN: “Our improvement from (Friday’s) UConn game to today’s game was 100 percent. We fought and played pretty well. Defensively, we played much more disciplined and the pressure on the ball was better. We also had some good combinations on the attack. … Randy has a great team going here and they play an attractive style of soccer. Just like with us, we have a very young team too and we’re going to try and develop our leadership this year. Randy has a really great group going. He has replaced his top seniors with some great freshmen. .. If a coach can have a player like (Tulisiak) sitting on the bench, it’s great. We’re not fortunate to do that and that’s what we’re missing-someone who can come in and impact the game. Notre Dame has several players that can put the ball in the net and that’s really to their advantage.”
2001 NOTRE DAME KEY BANK CLASSIC
#10 Connecticut 2, #25 Hartford 1 (OT)
#4 Notre Dame 2, #8 Penn State 1
#8 Penn State 2, #10 Connecticut 0
#4 Notre Dame 2, #25 Hartford 0
Offensive MVP: Christie Welsh (Penn State, Jr., F)
Defensive MVP: Vanessa Pruzinsky (Notre Dame, Jr., D)
Notre Dame: Vanessa Pruzinsky (Jr., D), Mia Sarkesian (Sr., M), Kelly Tulisiak (Sr., F), Liz Wagner (Sr., G)
Penn State: Joanna Lohman (So., M), Emily Oleksiuk (Sr., G), Christie Welsh (Jr., F)
Connecticut: Jessica Gjersten (So., F), Casey Zimny (Sr., D)
Hartford: Sandra Kakula (Jr., M), Cindy Walsh (So., D)
#25 HARTFORD (0-2-0) 0 0 – 0
#4 NOTRE DAME (2-0-0) 0 2 – 2
ND 1. Kelly Tulisiak 1 (unassisted) 66:59, ND 2. Amy Warner 1 (Amanda Guertin) 88:01.
SHOTS: HART 3-1-4, ND 4-10-14.
CORNER KICKS: HART 1-1-2, ND 2-4-6.
FOULS: HART 10-5-15, ND 3-4-7.
SAVES: HART 3-6-9 (Anne Lise Nilssen), ND 2-1-3 (Liz Wagner).
OFFSIDE: HART 3, ND 1.