Sept. 5, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame junior forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) and senior forward Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) scored goals 47 seconds apart midway through the first half on Sunday, propelling the No. 3/4 Fighting Irish to a 2-0 victory over Texas Tech at Alumni Stadium on the second day of the 18th annual Inn at Saint Mary's Classic. With the win, Notre Dame claims the tournament title for the 13th time, and the second in three seasons.
Augustin, who netted her team-high fourth goal of the season, all in the past three matches, was named the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the Inn at Saint Mary's Classic. Henderson joined her on the all-tournament team, along with senior defender Lauren Fowlkes (Lee's Summit, Mo./St. Teresa's Academy), who was named the tournament's Defensive MVP, and senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate), who took home the Goalkeeper MVP award.
Notre Dame (4-0-0) outshot Texas Tech, 19-10 on the afternoon, including an 11-3 margin in the first half. The Fighting Irish also held a 6-4 edge in shots on goal, as well as an 8-2 advantage in corner kicks -- fouls were even at 14 apiece.
Weiss made four saves in the Notre Dame nets to record her fourth consecutive solo shutout to open the 2010 season. Meanwhile, Colleen Pitts went the first 45 minutes in the Red Raiders' goal, turning aside two shots, before Erin Wikelius came on in the second half and also registered two saves.
"We looked sharp in the first half today, and it showed with the way we were able to get those two early goals on the board," Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. "None of us were very pleased with how we came out after halftime and that's something we'll be focusing on during training next week. All in all, I thought there were some areas where we made solid progress this weekend, and then some other spots that still need improvement. I'm looking forward to getting out on the practice field in the next few days and seeing how we come out and address those aspects of our game."
Texas Tech (5-1-0) came into Sunday's match having not allowed a goal in its first five outings and outscoring its opponents, 13-0. Yet, it was Notre Dame that dominated the offensive third in the first half, with Augustin sending a clear message on behalf of her team in the first seven minutes with a pair of shots (two of her five on the day) that just whistled wide of the Texas Tech goal. Senior forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) also tested Pitts in the 14th minute, sending a cross from the right side that slipped through the gloves of the Red Raiders' netminder, but the TTU back line was there to sweep the ball clear of danger.
Junior midfielder Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa's Academy) led all players with six shots, putting her first on frame in the 15th minute, but her drive from 12 yards straight out off an Augustin corner kick was flagged down by a diving Pitts at the right post. Less than a minute later, Campbell then teed up a left-footed blast from the top right of the box that deflected off a Texas Tech defender and skittered wide of the left post.
As the saying goes -- "pressure can make pipes burst" -- and in some cases, it can also cause defenses to break down. That's exactly what happened just past the midway point of the first half, and it turned the match on its ear. Junior midfielder Erica Iantorno (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale) started the first scoring sequence of the day by playing a long ball over the top to Henderson racing down the left flank. The Fighting Irish attacker angled her run into the box, then looked to play a cross in front, but the ball was blocked back to her near the penalty spot. Henderson them calmly pushed her dribble to the right side, turned and unleashed a sizzling shot that beat Pitts to the far left side netting for her second goal of the season (23:51).
Just about the time the crowd settled back into its seats and the final notes of the "Notre Dame Victory March" had finished echoing from the PA system following Henderson's goal, the Fighting Irish lead doubled, and it was vintage Augustin. The crafty veteran attacker latched on to a ball in the right channel approximately 35 yards from goal and with no Red Raider defender in the neighborhood, Augustin let loose with a thunderous blast into the top left corner of the goal that Pitts couldn't have stopped even if she were seven feet tall and holding a butterfly net (24:38).
With Texas Tech clearly reeling, Notre Dame tried for the knockout blow and nearly got it a minute later, as Augustin ripped a laser from the top of the box that was re-directed inches wide of the right post. The Fighting Irish continued to keep the ball in the offensive third, ringing up 10 of the first 11 shots in the contest, including four on goal. In fact, the Red Raiders didn't put their first shot on frame until the 37th minute when Jessica Disabella fired from just outside the top of the box and Weiss pushed the low shot around the left post. TTU did get another decent look with less than six minutes to go in the half, but Hayley Haagsma's free kick from 20 yards out sailed harmlessly over the bar.
The Red Raiders came out with renewed energy in the second half and almost cut into the Notre Dame lead in the opening three minutes. Taylor Lytle delivered a twisting corner kick into the box and Haagsma went high to drive a header towards the right post. However, Weiss was equal to the challenge with a diving reflex save and the Fighting Irish defense cleared away the rebound.
Augustin and Henderson nearly set up another Notre Dame goal just before the hour mark, as Augustin sprang Henderson with a through-ball to the left side of the penalty area. Henderson then delivered a tantalizing cross through the six-yard box and Knaack came charging hard from the back side, but was unable to connect on a sliding finish from point-blank range.
Notre Dame had two other solid opportunities in the second half, the first coming in the 63rd minute when Henderson served a ball from the right side to Augustin near the penalty spot. In turn, she laid it off for Campbell on the right edge of the box, but her eight-yard shot was blocked over the end line by a recovering Red Raiders' defense. Then, with just a quarter-hour to go, senior defender Julie Scheidler (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard) sent a cross from the right channel and Henderson brought the crowd to its feet, missing by scant inches on a sensational diving header attempt at the back post.
Texas Tech and No. 8/9 Santa Clara wound up sharing runner-up honors at this year's Inn at Saint Mary's Classic after SCU won Sunday's opening match, 3-1 over Ole Miss.
Notre Dame will hit the road for the first time this season on Friday at 7 p.m. (PT)/10 p.m. (ET) when it travels to Los Angeles to take on No. 11/15 UCLA at Drake Stadium on the first night of the UCLA Women's Cup. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Fighting Irish and Bruins in southern California and the firs time the two storied programs have met since the 2004 NCAA national championship match, won by Notre Dame on penalties (4-3, after the teams played to a 1-1 draw through two overtimes). Notre Dame will remain on the West Coast for a second match next weekend, paying a visit to Loyola Marymount on Sunday (11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET) in a match that also will be part of the UCLA Women's Cup.
For more information on the Notre Dame women's soccer program, join the Fighting Irish women's soccer news Twitter page (www.twitter.com/NDsoccernews) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women's soccer page at UND.com.
POST-GAME NOTES: Notre Dame wins the Inn at Saint Mary's Classic title for the 13th time in the tournament's 18-year history (played annually since 1992, except for 1994) ...the Fighting Irish are 29-5-2 (.833) all-time in their home tournament with a 97-36 scoring margin in those matches ... Notre Dame's two goals in 47 seconds on Sunday were its fastest two-goal flurry since Sept. 28, 2008, at Cincinnati, when Courtney Rosen scored at 75:13, and Henderson followed with her third goal of the match just 33 seconds later ... Notre Dame posts its fourth consecutive shutout to begin the 2010 season, marking the second time in three years (but just the third time in school history) it has pulled off that feat; the other occurrences came in 1995 (eight in a row) and 2008 (four in a row) ... the Fighting Irish now have allowed 0-1 goals in 19 consecutive matches, dating back to last season -- that's the fifth-longest streak in program annals and the longest such run since Oct. 25, 2002-Oct. 26, 2003, when they yielded a goal or fewer in 24 consecutive matches ... in this current 19-match defensive stretch, Notre Dame has posted a 17-1-1 record with 14 shutouts (11 solo and three shared by Weiss), a 45-5 scoring margin and a 0.26 goals-against average (GAA) ... the Fighting Irish rise to 394-10-15 (.958) all-time when holding their opponents to 0-1 goals in a game ... Notre Dame lifts its record against Texas Tech to 2-0-0 all-time in the abbreviated series, while extending its winning streak over Texas schools to seven in a row, dating back to a 1-0 loss to SMU on Sept. 19, 1999, in Klein, Texas ... Notre Dame also picks up its first victory over a Big 12 Conference opponent since Nov. 17, 2006, when it defeated 17th-ranked Colorado, 3-0 in the third round of the NCAA Championship at old Alumni Field ... the Fighting Irish jump to 169-4-2 (.971) all-time at home against unranked opponents (according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll), although Texas Tech did come into Sunday's contest receiving votes in the NSCAA poll ... Notre Dame also moves to 318-0-1 all-time when taking a 2-0 lead, including a 295-game unbeaten streak in such games, dating back to a 3-3 tie with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati ... the Fighting Irish now are 25-0 all-time when Henderson scores a goal and 31-0 when she scores a point, the latter of which she has done in all four matches this season and 11 of the past 14 Fighting Irish contests, dating back to last year ... since falling in its Alumni Stadium opener to North Carolina on Sept. 4, 2009, Notre Dame has won its last 18 games at its sparkling new state-of-the-art facility, posting a 46-2 scoring margin with 16 shutouts in that time (the lone opponent goals were scored by Connecticut's Linda Ruutu on Oct. 16, 2009 and Central Michigan's Molly Gerst on Nov. 15, 2009, both during 6-1 Notre Dame victories).
Rose Augustin, Notre Dame