Sep 1, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- For a young team like Notre Dame, there are times when the best lessons are the ones that hurt.
The No. 7/4 Fighting Irish put up a valiant fight against No. 4/2 UCLA on Sunday in the title match of the Notre Dame adidas Invitational, but ultimately the Bruins' Darian Jenkins scored an unassisted goal with 10:53 left to give UCLA a 1-0 victory and the tournament championship before a season-high crowd of 2,231 fans at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame (3-1) was led by a strong defensive unit that held fast throughout the afternoon, limiting the Bruins primarily to long-range shots from outside the penalty area, with only a handful of prime chances for either side in the match.
UCLA (4-0) finished with a deceiving 20-1 shot margin, due in part to many of those tries from distance. The Bruins also had a 6-0 advantage in shots on goal (three of those came inside the box), while the visitors had additional edges in corner kicks (7-1) and fouls (8-3).
Fighting Irish freshman goalkeeper Kaela Little (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley) was solid when she had to be, making five saves and expertly managing the penalty area while her back line didn't allow anything to come of those seven corners.
Notre Dame placed four players on the adidas Invitational All-Tournament Team -- junior forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita), sophomore midfielder Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip), junior defender Sammy Scofield (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) and sophomore forward Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy). Scofield made the squad for the second consecutive year, while Bohaboy, Roccaro and Thomas all were first-time selections.
"I'm disappointed in the result because I think we're better than this," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "We started out pretty well in the first 15-20 minutes, but then they got going a bit. I don't know if we just weren't sharp mentally or what, but in the end, they were the better team and got the result they earned. They won the important battles at certain positions on the field, and we just didn't do enough to create chances offensively.
"Sammy (Scofield) really had a good weekend for us in both games, and so did (sophomore defender/tri-captain) Katie (Naughton)," he added. "Kaela (Little) also continues to be reliable and consistent for us in goal, but we just didn't get enough from other people today. This was a great early test for us and we're going to get exactly what we should out of it -- a chance to learn where we went wrong and improve. That's why we play these games now, so we have time to correct our mistakes and adjust, rather than at the end of the year when it's too late."
The first half was largely a stalemate, with the action limited to the midfield for long stretches. UCLA did find its way to the fringes of the attacking third on a couple of occasions, and even earned four corner kicks. However, only Rosie White's shot from the top of the box in the fifth minute, and Sam Mewis' chip from near the penalty spot in the 30th minute ended up on frame, and Little didn't have to move to make either save.
The pace picked up a bit in the second half, with the Bruins making additional forays down the flanks, but the Fighting Irish defense was stellar, preventing any meaningful opportunities to get through until the 64th minute. UCLA's Jenna Richmond collected a left-side corner kick that sailed out the far end, turned and hit a low drive towards the right (near) post, but Little alertly was there to scoop up the shot.
Notre Dame made its own advances into the final third, with its best chance coming in the 74th minute. Sophomore defender Brittany Von Rueden (Mequon, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) delivered a precise service from the right side all the way to the heart of the box. As UCLA goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland came off her line, freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H./Milford) went high and headed the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper. Thomas then beat the final UCLA defender to the ball and poked it into the net, but a late offside flag came up, negating the goal.
That decision proved to be doubly painful six minutes later. Bruin reserve Ally Courtnall made a run up the right channel before uncorking a rising shot from the top right corner of the area. The shot caromed off the bottom of the crossbar and settled near Naughton at the edge of the six-yard box. However, the Fighting Irish defender rushed her clearance slightly and didn't get all of the attempt, allowing Jenkins to come in, jam the ball free and slide it under Little (79:07).
Notre Dame continued to press forward in hopes of an equalizer, but it was not to be, as the UCLA defense was able to turn back each attempt and seal the victory.
The Fighting Irish return to action at 7 p.m. (ET) Sept. 8, closing out their season-opening five-match homestand and wrapping up their non-conference schedule against Detroit at Alumni Stadium.
Season and single-match tickets for the 2013 Notre Dame women's soccer season may be purchased through the University's Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office by calling (574) 631-7356 or visiting the ticket windows at Gate 9 of Purcell Pavilion weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET). Tickets also can be ordered on-line 24 hours a day with a major credit card through the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets. Groups wishing to attend Fighting Irish soccer matches also can receive a discounted ticket rate -- contact Rita Baxter in the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office to learn more.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDsoccer), 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.
#4/2 UCLA 1, #7/4 Notre Dame 0
UCLA 0 1 -- 1
UCLA 1. Darian Jenkins 4 (-) 79:07.
Total Shots: UCLA 20 (7-13), ND 1 (1-0)
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director