Aug. 30, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the second time in three days, No. 7/6 Notre Dame will take on a traditional powerhouse program from the West Coast Conference as the Fighting Irish welcome the University of Portland to Alumni Stadium at 1:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday for the final match in the 23rd annual Notre Dame Invitational. It will be the second contest of the day, with Santa Clara and Northwestern meeting in Sunday’s opener at 11 a.m. (ET).
Here are the five things you should watch for as the Fighting Irish and Pilots (who have won a combined five national championships – three by Notre Dame, two by Portland – in their storied histories) face off for the first time since 2012 and the first time in South Bend since the 2004 NCAA Championship:
THE BOOK ON THE PILOTS: Portland evened its record at 1-1 this season with a wild 4-3 win at Marquette on Friday night. The Pilots made the most of their four shots on goal, converting each one, with junior midfielder Allison Wetherington’s penalty kick in the 69th minute proving to be the difference.
Portland has scored five goals and allowed five goals this season, following an opening-night 2-1 double-overtime loss to in-state rival Oregon State. The Pilots are averaging 11.0 shots per match, slightly less than their opponents (12.5 per match), while UP and their foes each have logged 11 shots on goal this season (5.5 per match).
Wetherington leads a balanced Portland offense through two matches with a team-high three points after adding an assist to her goal at Marquette. Four other Pilots have their team’s four other goals this season (including freshman forward Cecilia Pedersen who has a team-high four shots), while junior defender Ellie Boon collected both of her team-best two assists in Friday’s win at Marquette.
Junior goalkeeper Hanna de Haan also proved valuable in the victory over the Golden Eagles with all six of her saves this season.
SERIES HISTORY: Notre Dame is 7-4-1 all-time against Portland, although the Pilots have won three of the four previous matches played between the programs in South Bend. The last time they met on Sept. 7, 2012, the Fighting Irish and Pilots played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw at UP’s Merlo Field, thanks to Sammy Scofield’s goal in the 39th minute off a corner kick by current Notre Dame senior (and then freshman) forward Anna Maria Gilbertson.
Notre Dame and Portland will be playing in South Bend for the first time since Nov. 26, 2004, when the Fighting Irish posted a 3-1 win over the Pilots in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals at old Alumni Field en route to the second of the program’s three national championships. Katie Thorlakson had a hand in all three Notre Dame goals that night, scoring once and setting up both of Amanda Cinalli’s goals, while future Canadian National Team striker Christine Sinclair netted the lone goal for Portland.
Two other future Canadian greats started for the Fighting Irish that night – Melissa Tancredi (who had been a defender in college but later moved to the front line alongside Sinclair and helped Canada to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and a trip to this year’s World Cup on home soil) and Candace Chapman (who helped the aforementioned pair lead Canada to World Cup appearances in 2007 and 2011, as well Olympic berths in 2004, 2008 and 2012).
NOTRE DAME INVITATIONAL HISTORY: This marks the second season in which the Notre Dame Invitational will be contested under a “classic” rather than “tournament” format with no champion crowned. The Fighting Irish won their home tournament 14 times over its first 21 seasons, including seven of the final 11.
The Fighting Irish are 34-9-2 (.778) all-time in the Notre Dame Invitational (either tournament or “classic” format) and hold a 118-46 scoring edge over their opponents. Notre Dame is aiming to sweep its two home invitational matches in the same season for the first time since 2011, when it defeated Tulsa (7-1) and Indiana (4-1).
LAST TIME OUT: Senior midfielder/tri-captain Glory Williams latched on to a loose ball near the penalty spot and drove a low shot inside the left post with 9:10 remaining to give the No. 7/6 Fighting Irish a well-deserved 2-1 victory over Santa Clara on Friday night before a boisterous crowd of 1,123 fans at Alumni Stadium.
Junior forward Kaleigh Olmsted helped Notre Dame erase an early deficit with her team-leading third goal of the season in the 36th minute, converting a pass from freshman forward Natalie Jacobs. SCU had taken the lead in the 24th minute on Jenna Roering’s first goal of the campaign.
The Fighting Irish (3-0) dominated every statistical category on Friday, posting a 29-2 edge in total shots, including a 14-1 margin in shots on goal. Notre Dame also had a 12-4 advantage on corner kicks, while SCU finished ahead in the fouls column, 12-9.
The Broncos (1-2) kept the final score from being even greater, thanks in large part to their senior goalkeeper Andi Tostanoski, who registered 12 saves, one shy of the Alumni Stadium record. Notre Dame’s sophomore netminder Lexi Nicholas wasn’t tested nearly as much and did not record a save while picking up her third win of the young season.
ATTACK MENTALITY: In three matches this year, Notre Dame has posted a staggering 82-3 edge in total shots, including a 41-1 spread in shots on goal. Senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson has a team-high 18 shots (including eight in Friday’s win over Santa Clara), while freshman forward Natalie Jacobs is close behind with 16 shots and junior midfielder Sandra Yu has registered 12 shots.
Season and single game tickets for Notre Dame women’s soccer are on sale now. Visit UND.com/tickets or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356.
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– Chris Masters, Athletics Communications Associate Director