Aug. 24, 2012
Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) scored two goals in the opening 19 minutes, and freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness) made five saves in her return to her home state, as Notre Dame picked up its first win of 2012 with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over Tulsa on Friday night before a record crowd of 1,707 fans at Hurricane Soccer & Track Stadium in Tulsa, Okla.
Tucker opened her account with an unassisted goal in the 13th minute, before adding a brace less than six minutes later. It was Tucker's third career multi-goal match, and her first since the only other time the Fighting Irish visited the state of Oklahoma (a 2-0 win at Oklahoma State on Nov. 26, 2010, in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals).
Sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita) and junior forward/midfielder Rebecca Twining (Houston, Texas/Second Baptist School) earned assists on Tucker's second score of the night, which also made the third-year Fighting Irish midfielder just the fourth player in school history (and first since Amanda Cinalli in 2004) to score Notre Dame's first two goals of the season.
Meanwhile, Hight could hardly have scripted her first career win and shutout much better, earning both just two hours northeast of her hometown. The rookie netminder didn't face many significant threats (most of Tulsa's shots were hopeful tries from long distance), but she confidently managed the penalty area throughout the match to secure the clean sheet.
Tulsa (1-1) stayed within sight of the Fighting Irish in large part because of its own goalkeeper, Hayley Harryman, who made seven saves, including a handful of sparkling stops that kept Notre Dame from an even larger margin of victory.
For the second consecutive outing, the Fighting Irish (1-1) were dominant in the statistical measurements, holding a 16-8 edge in total shots, a 9-5 advantage in shots on goal, a 6-2 margin in corner kicks and 13-11 tally on fouls (both teams also received one yellow card).
"This was a good win for a lot of different reasons, not the least of which was simply to get the taste of Wisconsin out of our mouths and get into the win column," said Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum, who also enjoyed a homecoming of sorts, having coached the Tulsa men's and women's teams from 1989-94. "It was important for us to get out in front early and Tucker did that, and then we continued to create chances and possess the ball well. There's still lots for us to work on, but this was a step in the right direction and should give us some confidence moving forward."
After playing evenly through the first few minutes, the Fighting Irish asserted themselves. Tucker created a solid chance in the 10th minute, running the left side before serving a cross that Bohaboy brought down near the spot. However, the collapsing Tulsa defense was able to poke the ball free before Bohaboy could get a clean shot on frame.
Two minutes later, freshman forward Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy) won a ball on the left edge, just inside the center line, and quickly slipped a pass inside to sophomore midfielder Karin Simonian (Westbury, N.Y./W.T. Clarke). In turn, Simonian found Tucker on another run down the left flank, and Tucker cut back inside of her defender and drove to the top left corner of the box before firing an arrow high into the upper right corner of the net past a leaping Harryman (12:41).
Tulsa appeared to give its fans something to cheer about in the 15th minute, as Rebecca Handley raced down the left side of the penalty area, but her sharp-angled shot deflected into the outside netting, leading to a premature celebration from the overflow crowd.
Four minutes later, Notre Dame doubled its lead, thanks to another piece of strong combination play. Twining latched on to a pass in the left channel and turned short of the top left of the box, serving a delicate chip into the heart of the box. Bohaboy rose up at the spot and flicked a header back on the left side to an onrushing Tucker, who took a composed touch and cranked a left-footed rocket into the far right-side netting (18:21).
Freshman forward Anna Maria Gilbertson (Davis, Calif./Davis) looked to get in on the act in the 26th minute, sending a low drive from the right side that Harryman did well to swallow up at the right post.
Gilbertson then created for Bohaboy with a run down the left channel before squaring a pass to the second-year Fighting Irish striker near the edge of the area. Bohaboy then whistled a well-placed 18-yard shot that was ticketed for the upper right corner, but Harryman backpedaled and managed to parry the shot wide of the right post for a corner kick (32:30).
Tulsa's best chance of the night (and its only true shot from inside the box) came in the 49th minute. After the Golden Hurricane earned a free kick in the left channel 45 yards out, Claire Hulcer's service landed in the mixer near the penalty spot and was not immediately cleared by the Notre Dame defense. Rachel Garcia then had a look from 10 yards out straight away, but sent her shot sailing well over the bar.
Speaking of the woodwork, Bohaboy chipped some paint in the 82nd minute, pulling a ball off the right touch line and alertly darting across the top edge of the area. She then uncorked a rising left-footed blast that beat Harryman to the upper left corner, but couldn't beat the bar, clanging hard off the iron (81:20).
Notre Dame returns home at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday for its first match of the season at Alumni Stadium, playing host to East Carolina. Tickets for that match, and all regular-season Fighting Irish contests, can be purchased on-line at UND.com/tickets, by calling (574) 631-7356, or by visiting the Alumni Stadium ticket windows on the day of the match.
For more information on the Notre Dame women's soccer program, follow the Fighting Irish on Twitter (@NDSoccer and @NDsoccernews), like them 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.
POST MATCH NOTES: Notre Dame improves to 3-0 all-time against Tulsa (this was the first meeting on the TU campus), with an aggregate 11-1 scoring margin against the Golden Hurricane ... the Fighting Irish are 6-3 (.667) all-time against current Conference USA teams, including a 2-2 record on the road (first road win since Sept. 10, 2006, a 3-0 victory at SMU) ... Tucker becomes the first Notre Dame player since 2004, and the fourth in school history, to score the team's first two goals in a season (Amanda Cinalli did so vs. Baylor in 2004; Rosella Guerrero did so in her first two years - 1992 vs. North Carolina State and 1993 vs. La Salle; Alison Lester was first to do so in 1991 against Mercyhurst) ... Tucker has all four Fighting Irish goals in the program's two all-time matches in the state of Oklahoma ... in all three of Tucker's two-goal matches in her career, she has had both scores in a Notre Dame road win (at DePaul on Sept. 17, 2010; at Oklahoma State in NCAA quarterfinals on Nov. 26, 2010; at Tulsa on Friday night) ... Tucker had a career-high five shots on goal, after tying her (then) career best with three on target in the Aug. 17 season opener at Wisconsin ... Hight is the first Fighting Irish freshman goalkeeper to record a solo shutout in almost exactly six years -- Kelsey Lysander was the last to do so on Aug. 26, 2006, making two saves in a 9-0 season-opening win over Iowa State at old Alumni Field ... junior midfielder Nicole Rodriguez earned the second appearance of her career, playing a personal-best eight minutes late in the first half ... Notre Dame continues its tremendous historical success when taking a 2-0 lead -- the Fighting Irish now are 333-0-1 all-time when going ahead by that margin, including 310 consecutive wins since a 3-3 draw with Vanderbilt in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Sept. 15, 1991.
Notre Dame 2 - 0 - 2
Total Shots: Notre Dame 16 (12-4), Tulsa 8 (5-3)