Nov. 9, 2001
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Notre Dame’s trio of sophomore forwards-Amy Warner, Amanda Guertin and Melissa Tancredi-each registered a goal while their teammates dominated the pivotal midfield battle, as the sixth-ranked Irish women’s soccer team advanced to the BIG EAST championship game with a convincing 3-0 victory over Boston College in semifinal action Friday night at Yurcak Field.
Notre Dame (15-2-1)-which is 21-0-0 all-time in conference tournament games, including 17-0-0 in the BIG EAST Tournament-claimed an early lead, as Warner ended her four-game goal drought by scoring on a well-executed set play at the 2:43 mark for the third-quickest goal by the Irish in the last 45 games.
The six-time defending champion Irish advance to Sunday’s BIG EAST title game versus West Virginia (15-3-1), a 1-0 upset winner over Connecticut in Friday’s second semifinal. The noon EST game will be broadcast live by two Fox Sports Net affiliates (Madison Square Garden Network and Empire Sports), with delayed broadcasts on six other affiliates (including a noon CST airing on Fox Sports Net Chicago).
Boston College (11-9-1) now awaits Monday’s announcement of the NCAA tournament field, which is expanding from 48 to 64 teams.
The Irish racked up a 20-5 shot edge, including 13-4 in shots on goal, while controling the majority of the midfield play. Senior goalkeeper Liz Wagner made four saves for the 11th solo shutout of her career and her fifth straight in BIG EAST Tournament play.
Junior midfielder Ashley Dryer (Salt Lake City, Utah) again played a leading role in the Irish victory, neutralizing BIG EAST midfielder of the year Sarah Rahko while helping the Irish dictate the flow of the game.
“Ashley Dryer is a great unsung player for this team and tonight she was assigned to mark Sarah Rahko and she basically marked her out of the game,” said Randy Waldrum, whose first three Irish teams have combined for a 59-7-3 record (.877).
“Overall, we played a very solid game in all phases and the team showed the intensity and focus that you need during postseason play. Our execution was very sharp and our offensive players created some great scoring chances while converting when we needed it.”
Sophomore midfielder Randi Scheller was not officially credited with an assist in Friday’s game but passes from the crafty playmaker set the first two goals in motion.
A free kick from 35 yards initiated the first goal, with Scheller rolling a pass towards the top of the box for Guertin, who then sent the ball to the left side. Warner raced onto the pass and banged her first shot off charging ‘keeper Elyse Meredith before knocking home the rebound for her eighth goal of the season and the 18th of her ND career (2:43).
Guertin gave the Irish a 2-0 lead in the 63rd minute while extending her goalscoring streak to seven games (two shy of the ND record). Scheller’s pass from the center of the field led junior forward Ali Lovelace down the right side. Lovelace dribbled free of the BC pursuit and struck a pass from the endline, with Guertin deftly trapping the ball and sending a close-range shot into the right side of the goal (62:42) for her team-leading 11th goal of the season (matching her 2000 total).
A strong individual effort from Tancredi capped the scoring with 13 minutes left to play. Tancredi used a burst of speed and strong dribbling skills to maneuver through the center of the field before drilling a low shot from the top of the box. Meredith deflected the shot but Tancredi raced forward and banged in the rebound for her fourth goal of the season (76:37).
NOTES: Wagner and the Irish are 18-2-1 during the past two seasons in games vs. ranked teams and/or in the postseason, with the ND ‘keeper totaling 71 saves and allowing just 11 goals in those 21 “big games” … she lowered her career goals-against average to 0.53, good for seventh in the NCAA record book (third-best since 1995) … Guertin has points in 12 of the last 14 games while scoring six of ND’s last 10 goals … Lovelace’s 25 career points include 14 in the postseason (3G-3A in the BIG EAST Tournament) … ND now leads the BC series 7-0-0, including a similar 3-0 win in the 2000 BIG EAST semifinals and a 22-3 overall scoring edge in the series .. the Irish have outshot the Eagles 68-14 over the course of three games during the past two seasons … ND has outscored its opponents 21-4 in the last seven games (five shutouts), with Friday’s output marking just the fourth time this season that the ND offense has totaled more than two goals … the Irish defense still has allowed just four first-half goals all season (none in the last seven games) and 13 overall … ND improved to 14-2-1 in its last 16 postseason games (42-10 scoring edge) and 19-3-1 in the last 23 (59-14) … the Irish also are 35-2-1 in their last 38 games vs. BIG EAST teams and own a 65-7 all-time scoring edge in 17 BIG EAST Tournament games (with 14 shutouts) … the Irish senior class has helped ND compile a record of 80-10-4 during the past four seasons.
BOSTON COLLEGE (11-9-1) 0 0 – 0
#6 NOTRE DAME (15-2-1) 1 2 – 3
ND 1. Amy Warner 8 (-) 2:43, ND 2. Amanda Guertin 11 (Ali Lovelace) 62:41, ND 3. Melissa Tancredi 4 (-) 76:37.
Shots: BC 5, ND 20.
Corner Kicks: BC 2, ND 4.
Saves: BC (Elyse Meredith) 10, ND (Liz Wagner) 4.
Fouls: BC 8, ND 9.
Offsides: BC 1, ND 5.