Sept. 6, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) scored twice in the first 14 minutes, and junior defender Lauren Fowlkes (Lee's Summit, Mo./St. Teresa's Academy) added a goal midway through the first half, as No. 2/4 Notre Dame rebounded from its first loss of the 2009 season with a 3-0 victory over visiting Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Alumni Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the final match of the 17th annual Inn at Saint Mary's Soccer Classic.
Top-ranked North Carolina earned the tournament title with a 1-0 win over Marquette in Sunday's opening match.
Freshman forward Tereza Stastny (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) set up both of Henderson's early goals, earning the rookie the first points of her college career. Junior midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) was credited with the helper on Fowlkes' goal, thanks to a pinpoint corner kick, marking the second time in four matches this season that the pair have connected on a service from the corner flag.
Notre Dame (3-1) finished with a 14-8 shot advantage in the contest, including a 5-4 edge in shots on goal. The Panthers (2-2-2) earned four of the five corner kicks on the afternoon, but as it turned out, the Fighting Irish only needed their one try to find pay dirt.
Junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) made the most of her fourth career start -- and first since the 2007 season -- working the first 75-plus minutes and registering one save. Freshman netminder Maddie Fox (San Jose, Calif./Leigh) made her college debut in the final quarter-hour and was tested in her brief appearance, but she answered the call with a pair of big saves to preserve Notre Dame's third shutout in four matches this season.
Jamie Forbes started and had two saves for Milwaukee, but she also allowed all three Fighting Irish goals on the day. Leslie Deebach came on at halftime and did not record a save for the defending Horizon League tournament champion Panthers, who entered the contest receiving votes in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll.
Following the match, Henderson and sophomore midfielder Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano West) were named to the Inn at Saint Mary's Classic All-Tournament Team by a vote of the participating coaches.
"I'm certainly much more pleased with today's result, not just because of the final score, but also because of the resilience we showed after Friday's game," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "We came out sharper than the other night and it showed in the way we were able to get those early goals. Several players stood out to me, including Melissa (Henderson), Tereza (Stastny) and Lauren (Fowlkes), and I also thought that, even though she wasn't threatened all that much in her time out there, Nikki (Weiss) did well for her first start in goal.
"There is still a lot we need to work on, but I thought we took an encouraging step in the right direction this afternoon," Waldrum added. "Milwaukee is a very good team that is definitely going to be in the mix when the NCAA tournament rolls around."
After seeing its 54-game goalscoring streak (one shy of the school record) end with Friday's loss to UNC, Notre Dame wasted little time in starting a new string, as Henderson found the back of the net 4:30 into Sunday's game. Senior forward/tri-captain Michelle Weissenhofer (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) started the sequence with a through-ball to Stastny in the left channel. The rookie drew a defender towards her at the top of the penalty area, then slid a ball to the far side of the box, where Henderson was unmarked and needed just one dribble before beating a charging Forbes from 10 yards out.
The two Fighting Irish frontliners connected again a little more than nine minutes later. This time, it was a superb piece of footwork by Stastny, who outran a Milwaukee defender to the ball on the left side and toe-poked a pass to Henderson, who was making an angled run back towards the point of attack. Henderson settled the ball near the penalty spot, then turned over her right shoulder and drilled a low left-footed shot past a diving Forbes and inside the right post at the 13:41 mark. It was Henderson's team-leading fourth goal of the season, not to mention her fifth multi-goal game in 31 career contests, and her first two-goal outing since last year's 6-0 Senior Day win over Seton Hall (Oct. 26, 2008 at old Alumni Field).
Notre Dame nearly made it 3-0 at the midpoint of the first half, as Augustin teed up a free kick from the left flank and sophomore midfielder/tri-captain Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) came racing in with a textbook flying header from close range that Forbes did well to parry over the bar. However, on the ensuing corner kick, Augustin's placement was perfect and Fowlkes outjumped Forbes in the six-yard box to nod home her second goal of the season (23:03). Fowlkes, who missed a good portion of last year while helping the United States win the gold medal at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, had scored three goals in her first two seasons at Notre Dame, with two of those coming as a freshman in 2007.
Milwaukee had its best chance of the first half in the final five minutes of the period. Kayla DeJardin cracked a rising shot from 20 yards out on the right side, but was denied by the crossbar. The ball then popped loose to Sarah Talbert on the left edge of the six-yard box, but her shot from an acute angle was pushed aside by Weiss and the Fighting Irish defense was able to clear away any further challenge.
The majority of the second half was played in the middle third of the field, although both sides did have the occasional scoring opportunity. Henderson briefly brought the crowd to its feet when it appeared she earned a hat trick by heading in a Weissenhofer flip throw-in at the 54:12 mark, but the play was negated by an offside flag. The Panthers had their own chance in the 83rd minute, as Kelly McGrath swung a corner kick into the box and Sarah Hagen's shot was cleared off the line by the Notre Dame defense. The rebound caromed back out to McGrath, who re-teed her service, but Hagen's second scoring bid on a header from point-blank range, was snuffed out by a diving Fox, who went down to cover the left post and maintain Notre Dame's clean sheet.
The Fighting Irish will head out on the road for the first time this season when they head to the West Coast next weekend for the Santa Clara adidas Classic. Notre Dame will take on 22nd-ranked Santa Clara Friday at 7:30 p.m. PT (10:30 p.m. ET) at Buck Shaw Stadium, before the Fighting Irish turn their attention to No. 4/2 Stanford on Sunday at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET), also at SCU's Buck Shaw Stadium.
The next home match for Notre Dame will be Friday, Sept. 18, when the Fighting Irish kick off BIG EAST Conference play against No. RV/20 DePaul at 7:30 p.m. (ET) inside Alumni Stadium. Tickets for all Fighting Irish home contests this season are available through the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356), on-line through the tickets page of the official Fighting Irish athletics web site (www.UND.com/tickets), and at the Alumni Stadium ticket windows on game night.
POST GAME NOTES: For the second time in four matches this season, Notre Dame scored inside the first 20 minutes of play, with Henderson tallying in the 14th minute of the Aug. 28 win over Loyola-Chicago; last season, the Fighting Irish scored in the opening 20 minutes a total of 16 times in 27 matches ... Henderson's strike on Sunday was the quickest score of the young 2009 season for Notre Dame, and its fastest marker since last year's NCAA College Cup final, when Kerri Hanks potted an assist from Courtney Rosen just 16 seconds into the title match ... the last time the Fighting Irish scored quicker on home soil was Nov. 2, 2008 in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinal vs. Cincinnati, when Weissenhofer's flip throw led to a Bearcat own goal exactly one minute into the match and sparked a 5-0 Notre Dame win ... Henderson's first goal of the day was the 20th of her career; she also has the first (and gamewinning) goals in all three Fighting Irish wins this season, while eight of her 21 career tallies have been gamewinners -- Notre Dame also is 15-0 all-time when she scores a goal and 17-0 when she registers a point ... the Fighting Irish improve to 5-1 all-time against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, having won the past five contests in the series by a combined 16-0 margin ... other miscellaneous Notre Dame all-time record watches: 280-3-1 (.988) when scoring three goals (182-1 since Oct. 6, 1995); 305-0-1 when taking a 2-0 lead in a match (unbeaten and untied in the past 282 such contests); and 377-9-15 (.959) when holding the opposition to 0-1 goals ... Weiss' other starts came in the 2007 season (opener vs. Michigan on Aug. 31, 2007 - the first match of her college career - that ended in a 0-0 tie at old Alumni Field; and both games of the Inn at Saint Mary's Classic on Sept. 14 & 16, 2007, earning her first career victory in a 4-2 Irish triumph over Princeton on the opening night before suffering a narrow 2-1 OT loss to 16th-ranked Oklahoma State) ... with Fox's appearance in the second half, all five healthy Notre Dame freshmen now have played this season (midfielder Liz McNeil (Elkhorn, Neb./Elkhorn) is sidelined while recovering from a knee injury late in her senior year of high school) ... sophomore forward Jennifer Nordine (Danville, Calif./San Ramon Valley), who missed all of last season with an injury, made her college debut in the final minute of Sunday's game ... North Carolina won its second Inn at Saint Mary's Classic title in three trips to the Notre Dame-hosted event, adding to its crown in 1999; the Fighting Irish have won their own tournament 12 times, while Stanford (1992), Santa Clara (2002) and Washington State (2007) are the only other teams to take home the trophy.
INN AT SAINT MARY'S CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Offensive Most Valuable Player -- Jessica McDonald, Jr., F, North Carolina