Nov. 28, 1999
LINCOLN, Neb. – The fifth-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team and fourth-ranked Nebraska played four overtimes and 150 minutes for a 1-1 tie before the Irish used a 4-3 advantage in penalty kicks to advance to the NCAA Women’s College Cup semifinals against top-ranked Santa Clara on Friday, Dec. 3, at San Jose State’s Spartan Stadium. Irish junior Kelly Lindsey converted Notre Dame’s sixth penalty and senior All-American LaKeysia Beene saved Nebraska sixth penalty kick to send the Irish into the NCAA semifinals for the fifth time in the last six years. Senior All-American Jenny Streiffer scored at 1:30 to give the Irish, who now stand 20-3-1 with the tie, an early 1-0 lead. Nebraska, who falls to 22-1-2, tied the game with a goal at 17:07 before 132:53 of scoreless soccer sent the game into a shootout.
Nebraska won the coin toss before the shootout and elected to kick second. Streiffer took the first kick and converted in the lower left corner of the net. Beene then saved Kelly Rheem’s first shot for the Cornhuskers in the lower right corner. Irish senior Jenny Heft put Notre Dame up 2-0 with a shot into the upper left corner. Nebraska’s Meghan Anderson moved the shootout to 2-1 with a shot to the lower right. After Notre Dame junior All-American Anne Makinen had her kick bounce off the left post, Husker Christine Latham skimmed a shot off the left post to tie the kicks at 2-2.
After Husker All-American junior goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc then saved Monica Gonzalez’s shot to the lower left, the Cornhuskers needed to converted their final two kicks to advance to their first NCAA semifinal, but Sharolta Nonen’s shot sailed high over the center of the net. Irish senior All-American Jen Grubb went into the upper right corner for a 3-2 Irish edge. Jenny Benson kept Nebraska alive with a shot into the lower right for a 3-3 tie after the first five kicks.
The teams then were scheduled to take one kick each until one team had a one-goal advantage but the Irish would need just one extra round as Lindsey shot into the lower right and Beene saved Husker senior Amy Walsh’s shot to the lower right for the 4-3 Irish advantage.
“We felt very good about our play today and our game plan,” said Irish head coach Randy Waldrum. “We definitely dodged some bullets on corner kicks because they are so good on set pieces. Nebraska has had such a great year. I think the game really dictated the quality of the two teams. We battled through a lot of different situations through the course of the game and four overtimes that I think shows the character of our team. The last thing we said in the locker room was, ‘Whatever it takes.'”
“Nebraska is a great team and probably deserves to be there just as much as we do, but it come down to that last shot and LaKeysia made a great save,” said Lindsey, a native of nearby Omaha, Neb. “If it wouldn’t have been for her, it wouldn’t have been for me. Coach asked who wanted to take the sixth penalty kick and I threw my hand up without even thinking so I definitely wasn’t nervous. I was just glad to put it in.”
“I saw my team jumping up and down and I thought, ‘Man, I got to save this.'”, said Beene about the situation after Lindsey’s kick and before saving Nebraska’s last penalty kick. “I didn’t want to let them down.”
Streiffer gave the Irish a quick lead when she converted a through-ball from sophomore Mia Sarkesian at 1:30. Sarkeisan, who scored the game-winning goal in Notre Dame’s 1-0 win over Stanford in the NCAA third round, split the Husker back line with a pass from 40 yards that Streiffer dribbled from the right wing into the box. Her shot from eight yards sailed past a diving LeBlanc and bounced off the left post into the right side of the net.
Rheem knotted the game in the 18th minute when she tapped a cross from Benson into the net from two yards. Benson served the ball from the left side over a pair of Irish defenders and a Husker forward to an open Rheem.
The teams then had a number of scoring opportunities during the rest of the game but both goalkeepers came up with a number of plays to keep the game tied. LeBlanc finished with 10 saves, while Beene saved seven shots and came off her line to smother a breakaway with 32 minutes left in the second half. Notre Dame finished with a 29-16 advantage in shots and 13-6 in the four overtime periods. Nebraska had 15 corner kicks to nine for the Irish and had 21 fouls to 18 for Notre Dame.
“It has been an extremely gratifying year for me, following a coach like Chris Petrucelli,” said Waldrum, who is in his first year with the Irish. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. It feels like a relief that we got to the semifinals because that is the standard that has been set and it’s the expectation at Notre Dame. When I get a chance to think about it, it’s going to be really exciting.”
Streiffer, with 70 goals and 71 assists in her Irish career, joins North Carolina’s Mia Hamm as the only players in NCAA Division I history to scored at least 70 goals and assist on 70 goals. The game marked the longest in Irish history, surpassing the 1995 NCAA final won by the Notre Dame 1-0 over Portland in a game that lasted 125:31 in triple overtime.