April 5, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Freshman Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) scored the game-winning goal during stoppage time Friday night to send the University of Notre Dame women's soccer team to a thrilling 4-3 spring exhibition victory over the Mexico Under-20 National Team at Alumni Stadium.
Roccaro broke free on a rush and navigated nicely through the Mexican defense, blasting the winning tally over the right shoulder of keeper Alejandra Gutierrez more than three minutes into stoppage time for the game-winning score.
Notre Dame outshot Mexico 17-14 during the match, including 9-6 during the second half. The Fighting Irish also held a 6-2 edge in corner kicks attempted.
Sophomore forward Karin Simonian (Westbury, N.Y./W.T. Clarke) got the Fighting Irish on the board in the 18th minute, drilling a strike from 25 yards out over the head of Mexico's Gutierrez to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. The shot was the first of the match for the Fighting Irish.
Mexico picked up the equalizer in the 30th minute, as a blast by Tanya Samarzich from the left box found the right corner of the mesh to even the score at 1-1. Notre Dame nearly answered in the 33rd minute, but a strike from freshman forward Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy) went just outside of the far post from 11 yards out.
Notre Dame regained the lead in the 55th minute after a perfectly executed set piece. Freshman defender Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) finished a header in the box off a beautiful Thomas corner, giving the Fighting Irish a 2-1 advantage. Mexico answered less than two minutes later, as Samarzich buried her second goal of the match on a break up field to square the contest at 2-2.
Samarzich broke the tie with her third goal of the night in the 77th minute, weaving through the Notre Dame defense before driving a strike to the bottom right of the cage to vault Mexico back in front 3-2.
The Fighting Irish would not be denied, as Roccaro received a through pass from junior midfielder Mandy Laddish (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit) and sent a nifty cross into the box in the 85th minute. Thomas put home the loose ball for the Notre Dame equalizer, tying the contest at 3-all.
Freshman goalkeeper Naomi Willett (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente) went the distance in the Notre Dame net, recording two saves in 90-plus minutes.
The Fighting Irish resume the spring schedule Saturday with a pair of matches at the Notre Dame Practice Field. The Fighting Irish are scheduled to play at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in a four-team event that will also involve Iowa, IPFW and Grand Valley State.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccer or @NDsoccernews), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
Mexico U-20 1 - 2 -- 3
Notre Dame 1 - 3 -- 4
ND 1. Karin Simonian (-) 18:39. Mex 1. Tanya Samarzich (-) 30:37. ND 2. Katie Naughton (Crystal Thomas) 54:52. Mex 2. Samarzich 2 (-) 57:40. Mex 3. Samarzich 3 (-) 77:44. ND 3. Crystal Thomas (Cari Roccaro, Mandy Laddish) 85.00. ND 4. Cari Roccaro (-) 90.00.
Total Shots: Mexico U-20 14 (8-6), Notre Dame 17 (8-9)
Shots On Goal: Mexico U-20 5 (3-2), Notre Dame 9 (4-5)
Saves: Mexico U-20 5 (Alejandra Gutierrez 5 in 90:00), Notre Dame 2 (Naomi Willett 2 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: Mexico U-20 2 (1-1), Notre Dame 6 (4-2)
Offsides: Mexico U-20 1, Notre Dame 1