Sept. 16, 2000
PORTLAND, Ore. – The second-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team shook off a sluggish start by erupting for three goals in a five-minute span before using its depth to wear down 15th-ranked Washington, as the Irish posted a 5-0 victory over the Huskies in first-round action Saturday afternoon at the University of Portland adidas Invitational.
Notre Dame (6-0-0)-which has outscored the opposition 26-3 this season-received two goals each from sophomore forward Ali Lovelace and senior midfielder Anne Makinen, who also provided a long cross to set up Lovelace’s first goal. Senior forward Meotis Erikson-a native of nearby Kennewick, Wash.-used some clever moves to score the game’s first goal before Lovelace sparked the Irish off the bench with a pair of strong individual efforts.
Washington (6-1-0) had the first two quality scoring chances of the game, with junior forward Erin Otagaki misfiring on both opportunities.
Notre Dame again held a decisive shot margin (16-7), with just two of the UW shots requiring saves. The Irish have held five of six opponents to seven shots or fewer this season, with a 182-29 season shot margin. The ND defense also has allowed just 17 total shots on goal in 2000, with the Irish offense racking up 106.
The Irish head into Sunday’s game versus host Portland with a chance to claim the No. 1 position in the national polls for the first time since the 1996 season, due to top-ranked North Carolina’s 2-1 loss to Clemson earlier in the week. The Pilots could be formidable foe for the Irish, as Portland (7-0-0) used a 4-0 win Saturday over San Diego State to remain unbeaten.
“We were a little bit unorganized during the first 20 minutes before being able to capitalize on three straight chances,” said Irish head coach Randy Waldrum, whose squad enjoyed its most efficient offensive game of the season. “Meotis scored a good goal and then Ali really gave us a boost off the bench. Our depth also made a big difference later in the game, because we’ve had three tough games in a row.”
Washington head coach Leslie Gallimore conceded that the Huskies let the game slip away during the pivotal first-half stretch. “You’re only going to get a few chances to score against a good team like this,” she said. “As the game wore on, we had a couple defensive lapses and made a few mistakes and a good team is going to punish you for every one. And that’s what they did.”
Saturday’s action completes a challenging stretch in which the Irish posted three consecutive wins over ranked opponents (with wins last week over then-No. 2 Santa Clara and 10th-ranked Stanford). The last time that happened in the regular season was during Notre Dame’s 1995 NCAA championship run. (Early in that `95 season, ND posted successive wins over #13 Wisconsin, #19 Michigan State and #3 Stanford … later in `95, a rugged four-game stretch yielded a 5-4 loss to #5 UConn, a 1-0 win over #6 SCU, a 2-2 tie with #11 Duke and a 2-0 loss to top-ranked UNC).
Otagaki broke free midway through the first half for a 1-on-1 chance with Irish junior goalkeeper Elizabeth Wagner but her low shot sailed just wide of the right post. Minutes later, Otagaki ran down the center of the field onto a ball at the top of the box. But Wagner had anticipated the play and left her line to cut down the angle, with Otagaki’s shot deflecting off Wagner’s right hand from near-point-blank range.
A pair of well-placed long balls gave the Irish a 2-0 lead in a span of 64 seconds. Junior defender Lindsey Jones set the first goal in motion with a serve from the defensive third. Erikson received the ball at the top of the box and used her patented moves to shake loose from the UW defenders before crossing a shot into the sidenetting on the far left side for her third goal of the season and the 49th of her career (26:10).
Moments later, Makinen picked off a Huskies clearing attempt and quickly crossed the ball from the left flank. Lovelace-who has seen limited action since a leg injury in the season opener-had position on a pair of UW defenders near the right post and deftly trapped the cross off her chest before whirling to her left and snapping a low shot by a surprised Solo and inside the near right post, for her first goal of the season (27:14).
Lovelace turned in a more impressive effort on the third Irish goal, at a similar spot on the field. Two Huskies players appeared to have moved the ball past Lovelace in the penalty box area but Lovelace jumped back into the play and stole the ball with her back to the goal before quickly completing a 180-degree turn and striking a low crossing shot inside the far left post (31:11).
Notre Dame dominated play in the second half (13-3 shot edge), with Erikson nearly scoring a second goal on a shot from the left side that clanged loudly off the crossbar. Makinen was in position to gather the rebound and sent a blast on net, with a diving Solo unable to stop the powerful shot from settling into the net (57:40).
Sophomore midfielder Ashley Dryer set up the final goal with a strong run into the left side of the penalty box. After Dryer was taken down from behind in the top corner of the box, Makinen caught Solo guessing to her right for her sixth goal of the season and the 57th of her career (64:12).
Makinen’s productive afternoon gives her 19 points for the season and 162 in 72 career games (57G-48A). She heads into the Portland game just two assists shy of joining Monica Gerardo (`95-’98) and Jenny Streiffer (`96-’99) as the only Irish players ever to reach 50 career goals and 50 assists.
The Irish were treated to a postgame meal sponsored by the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Portland-with the real treat coming prior to the meal, when sophomore midfielder and Seattle native Nancy Mikacenic thrilled her teammates with a rousing rendition of “You Are 16, Going On 17” from the Sound of Music (with the full array of choreography moves and both signing parts from the classic song).
WASHINGTON (6-1-0) 0 0 – 0
NOTRE DAME (6-0-0) 3 2 – 5
ND 1. Meotis Erikson 3 (-) 26:10, ND 2. Ali Lovelace 1 (Makinen) 27:14, ND 3. Lovelace 2 (-) 31:33, ND 4. Makinen 5 (Erikson) 57:40, ND 5. Makinen 6 (penalty kick) 64:12.
Shots: UW 7, ND 16.
Saves: UW 7 (Hope Solo), ND 2 (Elizabeth Wagner 2, Sani Post 0).
Corner Kicks: UW 3, ND 3.
Fouls: UW 19, ND 11.
Offsides: UW 1, ND 2.
Yellow Card: Megan McKinstry (UW).