Oct. 5, 2001
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Freshman midfielder Carli Lloyd scored twice in the game’s first 10 minutes and Christine Caldwell racked up 11 saves as the Rutgers women’s soccer team held on to defeat third-ranked Notre Dame, 2-1, in BIG EAST Conference Mid-Atlantic Division action late Friday night at Yurcak Field.
Notre Dame (8-1-1, 4-1-0 BIG EAST) forged a 2-1 game in the 16th minute, on junior defender Vanessa Pruzinsky’s first career goal at ND, but the Irish failed to net the equalizer despite holding a 21-9 shot advantage.
Rutgers (8-4-0, 3-1-0) became just the third BIG EAST team to defeat Notre Dame, since the Irish joined the conference in 1995. Notre Dame now owns a 74-4-2 record vs. BIG EAST teams since ’95, including 58-3-2 in the regular season.
The loss also was Notre Dame’s first in the regular season since a 4-2 defeat at then-No. 1 Santa Clara on Oct. 17, 1999-ending a 31-game, regular-season unbeaten streak (29-0-2) that was one shy of matching the team record (30-0-2 during a 1993-95 regular-season run).
The start of the game-already unusually late due to a pair of men’s tournament games earlier in the evening-was pushed back from 9:00 to 10:30, after both men’s games (St. John’s-Cal State Fullerton and RU-Duke) stretched to overtime. The disappointing loss extended a long day for the Irish, who missed their Thursday-night connection in Pittsburgh after being delayed out of South Bend (the team grabbed five hours of rest at an airport hotel before boarding a 7:00 a.m. flight on Friday morning, with the schedule change also wiping out the planned gameday practice).
Rutgers converted on its first two shots of the game, with junior forward Erica Schubert’s rightside corner kick providing the first assist. The sinking cross eluded several players stationed around the near post and Lloyd was in position to quickly sweep the ball into the net for her seventh goal of the season (8:38).
Less than two minutes later, Lloyd found herself open near the top of the box and lofted a shot into the upper right corner of the net (10:21), yielding Notre Dame’s first two-goal deficit in 61 games (since a 2-0 loss to North Carolina in the 1999 NCAA championship game).
Pruzinsky-who amassed 79 goals as a high school forward before converting to the defense at Notre Dame-surprised Caldwell with a strong shot from the top of the box, dribbling down the center of the field before drilling the first goal of her Irish career into the upper left corner of the net (15:54).
Caldwell and Irish senior goalkeeeper Liz Wagner both made strong second-half saves to preserve the tense 2-1 game, with Caldwell collecting four saves in the final 45 minutes while Wagner and the ND defense thwarted several RU counterattack chances.
Notre Dame had allowed just one first-half goal in its first nine games before Lloyd’s pair of goals Friday night. The Irish were 23-0-1 in their previous 24 games vs. BIG EAST teams, dating back to a 3-2 loss at Seton Hall on Oct. 18, 1998.
#3 NOTRE DAME (8-1-1, 4-1-0 BIG EAST) 1 0 – 1
RUTGERS (8-4-0, 3-1-0 BIG EAST) 2 1 – 2
RU 1. Carli Lloyd 7 (Erica Schubert) 8:38, RU 2. Lloyd 8 (unassisted) 10:21, ND 1. Vanessa Pruzinsky 1 (unassisted) 15:54.
SHOTS: ND 21, RU 9.
CORNER KICKS: ND 6, RU 4.
SAVES: ND 3 (Liz Wagner), RU 11 (Christine Caldwell)
FOULS: ND 14, RU 13.
OFFSIDES: ND 2, RU 3.