Sept. 4, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The second-ranked Notre Dame women's soccer team saw three impressive streaks come to an end on Friday night, as the Fighting Irish had their 30-game regular-season winning streak, 27-game home winning streak and 54-game goalscoring streak all snapped with a 6-0 loss to No. 1 North Carolina on the first day of the Inn at Saint Mary's Classic before a boisterous overflow crowd of 3,007 fans in the first women's soccer match played at the brand-new, state-of-the-art Alumni Stadium.
It was the first time Notre Dame was blanked since the 2007 season opener (a 0-0 tie vs. Michigan at old Alumni Field), and the first regular-season loss for the Fighting Irish since Sept. 30, 2007, when they dropped a 2-1 decision to 14th-ranked Penn State, also at Alumni Field (the last home defeat prior to Friday evening).
Jessica McDonald had two goals and an assist, while Casey Nogueira added a goal and an assist for North Carolina (4-0-0), which rang up at least six goals against a top-three opponent for the second time this season. The Tar Heels toppled then-No. 3 UCLA, 7-2, in the season opener for both teams back on Aug. 21 in Chapel Hill, N.C. Like that match, UNC scored twice in the first seven minutes against Notre Dame (on scores by Courtney Jones and McDonald), putting the hosts on the defensive for the remainder of the night.
North Carolina finished with a 19-15 shot advantage in the game, although Notre Dame outshot the Tar Heels, 13-7 in the second half. UNC also earned an 11-4 spread in shots on goal, a 6-3 edge in corner kicks and a 16-9 margin in fouls.
Senior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) made four saves in the first half for Notre Dame, while junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) did not record a save in the final 45 minutes. Harris got the victory in the North Carolina goal, working the first 70:42 and making four saves, before giving way to Hannah Daly, who did not make a save in the last 19:18 of the contest.
"It's disappointing to come out and play like we did, especially when we had such an amazing crowd on the first night in this wonderful new stadium," Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. "We made some mistakes early on and you just can't do that against a team as good as Carolina. Heck, if they had made those same mistakes against us, we probably would have been up 2-0 in the first few minutes.
"Are they six goals better than we are? Probably not, but give them credit for converting on their opportunities," he continued. "On the other hand, we did have several young players who came in and gave us some good energy, especially in the second half. This will certainly be a good learning and teaching tool for us, and many of the people on this team -- coaches and players -- have bounced back from a situation like this before (when ND lost at third-ranked Santa Clara, 7-1, in the third game of 2007 before roaring back to reach the NCAA College Cup semifinals). We need to have a short memory and get ready for a very good Wisconsin-Milwaukee team coming in here on Sunday."
Jones opened the Carolina scoring 23 seconds into the match, heading home a left-wing cross from Tobin Heath. The Tar Heels made it 2-0 exactly six minutes later, when Nogueira picked off an errant clearing attempt in the left channel and swung a cross into the area that McDonald finished with a hard low shot inside the right post.
Notre Dame (2-1-0) got its first good opportunity at the 32:15 mark when junior midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) hit senior forward/tri-captain Michele Weissenhofer (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) over the top, but Weissenhofer's first touch from just outside the area was a bit heavy and UNC goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was able to gobble up the loose ball.
After the Fighting Irish defense held steady on a three-shot Carolina flurry in the six-yard box just past the quarter-hour, the Tar Heels added their third tally at 19:18 of the first half, when Nikki Washington raced down the right flank on an overlapping run before serving a pass though the box that Meghan Klingenberg ran on to and converted from short range.
North Carolina capped the first half scoring in the 37th minute, when substitute Brittani Bartok outran the Notre Dame defense to corral a lofted ball 20 yards out, then chipped the ball over a charging Lysander.
Nogueira and McDonald closed out the match scoring with second-half tallies, the first coming at 49:02 when Nogueira gathered a loose ball at the top left of the box, turned and drilled a low left-footed shot inside the right post. McDonald's second goal of the night came less than six minutes later, as a North Carolina corner kick pinballed around the area and a subsequent shot from the top of the box was blocked, but caromed to an unmarked McDonald in the goal mouth, who scored from 10 yards away.
Augustin had a solid second-half scoring chance with 13:35 remaining, running on to a blocked shot 20 yards out in the left channel, but her blast sailed high and wide right. The veteran midfielder, who finished with a game-high seven shots, also drew a free kick when she was fouled on the edge of the penalty area with 10 minutes left, but the ensuing free kick by sophomore forward Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano West) was deflected away by the UNC defensive wall. The last Fighting Irish scoring threat came with a minute to play, when sophomore defender Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa's Academy) teed up a 25-yard shot from the right channel that just barely missed tucking in the upper left corner of the net.
The Fighting Irish will return to the pitch Sunday at 1:30 p.m. (ET) when they play host to Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Alumni Stadium to close out the second day of action of the 2009 Inn at Saint Mary's Soccer Classic. Marquette will take on North Carolina in Sunday's opener at 11 a.m. (ET) in a de-facto tournament championship contest, following MU's 2-0 win at Milwaukee last night. Tickets for all Fighting Irish home contests this season are available through the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356), on-line at the official Fighting Irish athletics web site (www.UND.com/tickets), and at the Alumni Stadium ticket windows on game day.
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame took the pitch wearing green kits for the fifth time in school history, and the first since the 2005 NCAA Championship quarterfinals, when they dropped a 3-1 decision at Portland; Notre Dame is 1-4 all-time when sporting that color, having lost four in a row since a 1-0 triple-overtime victory over Portland in the 1995 NCAA national championship game at North Carolina's Fetzer Field ... Friday's crowd of 3,007 was the largest for Notre Dame since last year's NCAA Championship third-round contest against Minnesota at old Alumni Field, when 3,132 fans witnessed the Fighting Irish pull out a 1-0 victory in overtime on a 97th-minute penalty kick by Kerri Hanks ... Notre Dame's 54-game goalscoring streak that ended Friday was the second-longest in school history, topped only by a 55-game run from Aug. 29, 1997-Sept. 17, 1999 ... Notre Dame's 30-game regular-season winning streak was a school record, while its 27-game home winning/unbeaten streak is fourth-best in school history (winning streak record is 32 games from Oct. 24, 2004-Nov. 24, 2006; unbeaten streak record is 43 games from Aug. 27, 2004-Sept. 14, 2007) ... the Fighting Irish played in a 1-vs-2 matchup (according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll) for the seventh time, all against North Carolina, and now are 1-4-2 in such contests ... Notre Dame drops to 4-11-2 all-time against UNC, although prior to Friday evening, the previous five matches (and six of the first seven in the Randy Waldrum era since 1999) had been decided by one goal ... Friday's margin and goals scored were series highs for the Tar Heels, exceeding their 5-0 win in the 1994 NCAA final (at Portland), and a 5-1 victory on Sept. 13, 1998 in Chapel Hill (also a 1-vs-2 contest) ... Friday's loss was only the fifth for Notre Dame in the 17-year history of its home tournament (covering 33 matches); the Fighting Irish had outscored opponents in the Inn at Saint Mary's Classic by an aggregate of 91-30 prior to Friday night.