Sammy Scofield (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) scored her second goal of the year and freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness) rang up a season-high nine saves as Notre Dame and No. 19/18 Portland played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw on Friday night before a sellout crowd of 4,932 fans at Merlo Field in Portland, Ore.
Scofield headed home a corner kick from freshman forward Anna Maria Gilbertson (Davis, Calif./Davis) at 38:54, less than nine minutes after the Pilots had taken the lead. The two sides then played more than 70 minutes of scoreless soccer that was not without its share of drama, including two shots that hit either the post or crossbar (both by Notre Dame, as well as a third that came earlier in the contest) and a missed penalty kick (by Portland's Amanda Frisbie in the 56th minute).
Hight also was a major factor in Friday's draw, registering the most saves by a Notre Dame goalkeeper in a single match in more than 13 years, dating back to All-America netminder LaKeysia Beene's 15 stops against North Carolina in a 3-2 double-overtime loss on Sept. 3, 1999, at old Alumni Field in head coach Randy Waldrum's first match at the Fighting Irish helm.
Portland (4-1-1) finished with a narrow 17-16 edge in total shots, with a wider 10-3 advantage in shots on goal (not counting the three Notre Dame tries that hit the woodwork). The Pilots also had a slim 8-6 margin in corner kicks, as well as a 10-9 differential in fouls, with each side receiving one yellow card.
"All things considered, I'm pretty pleased with the result," Waldrum said. "Both teams had their chances and both also made the plays they had to when it mattered. We showed a lot of fight and competed well on the road in a hostile environment, and we didn't hang our heads after the first goal or when they came at us early in the second half. That kind of growth is encouraging to see and it's more that we can build on as the season continues."
Despite no current Fighting Irish player having played at Merlo Field (considered one of the top venues in college soccer), Notre Dame did not seem overly intimidated by the atmosphere and fashioned numerous early chances against a Portland defense that had allowed just one goal in its first five matches this season.
Notre Dame (3-2-1) had its first look of the night in the third minute, when freshman midfielder Glory Williams (Dallas, Texas/Lake Highlands) found classmate Stephanie Campo (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge) on a run down the right channel. Campo slid a pass on the outer wing to freshman forward Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy), who drove to the by-line before snapping a cross towards the penalty spot. Junior midfielder/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) trapped the pass and appeared to have a window for a right-footed shot, but it was blocked out at the last second and the ensuing corner kick came to nothing.
In the 19th minute, sophomore midfielder Karin Simonian (Westbury, N.Y./W.T. Clarke) alertly spotted senior defender/tri-captain Jazmin Hall (Highland Village, Texas/Marcus) steaming down the left side and hit her in stride. Hall charged to the by-line and drove a teasing cross through the heart of the six-yard box that got past Portland goalkeeper Erin Dees, but Thomas couldn't connect when she crashed the far post and the ball skipped out of play.
The Pilots got their first good opportunity moments later, as Frisbie ran on to a long ball down the left channel, but Scofield escorted her away from goal and then cleanly tackled the ball away, poking it out for a corner kick. Hight punched the resulting service clear to the top of the box, where UP's Kendall Johnson had a bead on the rebound shot, but Tucker was there to smother it and clear the danger.
In a recurring theme during the night, Notre Dame came right back down and put Portland fans' hearts in their throats. In the 23rd minute, sophomore midfielder Taylor Schneider (Southlake, Texas/Carroll Senior) spotted Dees creeping off her line and tested her with a 35-yard blast that beat the Pilot netminder, but clanged hard off the outside of the right post near the connector with the crossbar.
Portland then went in front just past the half-hour mark after winning a free kick 20 yards away, just outside the left edge of the area. Notre Dame tracked the initial service well, but couldn't clear its lines, and after a seemingly endless scramble of players at the top of the six-yard box, Kurle found herself in the right place at the right time and hammered a rising shot into the roof of the net (30:20).
The goal seemed to energize the hosts, who remained on the front foot for the next five minutes. First, Frisbie delivered a smart backheel for Johnson on a run through the box, but her 1-v-1 duel with Hight went the way of the Fighting Irish rookie netminder. Then, Frisbie picked off an attempted clearance in the left channel and drove into the attacking third, cutting inside at the top of the box before driving a hard shot that Hight easily gobbled up.
Just when it seemed the momentum was all in Portland's favor, the Fighting Irish counterpunched in textbook fashion. Freshman forward Mary Schwappach (Denver, Colo./Mullen) gave Notre Dame life by rising to head a cross from Tucker towards the left post, with Dees having to dive to push the ball wide of the mark. On the ensuing corner kick, Gilbertson drove a precision service to the heart of the six-yard box, where Scofield timed her run perfectly and went high to bury a driven header that drew the Fighting Irish level (38:54).
This time, it was Notre Dame that went on the offensive following a goal, and it nearly paid off in the 41st minute. Tucker got room to roam in the left channel, cut inside her defender at the top left corner of the box and lashed a right-footed shot that was ticketed for the far right-side netting. However, after beating Dees, the ball caromed wickedly off the inside of the right post and back into play, leaving the teams on equal footing at halftime.
The early moments of the second half were largely played in the Portland offensive third, with the Pilots creating several chances. Micaela Capelle tested Hight with a sharp-angled shot on the left side in the first minute of the period (the ball sailed untouched across the face of goal), and a few minutes later, she tried to beat the Notre Dame goalkeeper again with a drive from 10 yards out, also on the left side, but Hight dove to her left to make the save.
The Fighting Irish did earn a pair of corner kicks in opening 10 minutes of the half, but junior forward Rebecca Twining (Houston, Texas/Second Baptist School) wasn't able to straighten out her shot from the top of the area after the first service, and the second try from the flag cleared everyone and came out untouched on the back side.
The match then took another turn at 55:01, when Frisbie crossed over her defender at the top left of the box and drove towards the six, only to be bowled over by Campo, leading to a penalty kick. However, with the sellout crowd on its feet and expecting Portland to regain the lead, Frisbie yanked her try wide of the left post and the scoreboard remained unchanged.
The missed spot kick wound up being just the tonic Notre Dame needed to snap out of its early second-half slumber. The Fighting Irish began to control more of the possession and created a solid chance in the 73rd minute, as Tucker switched fields for Campo and the rookie's early cross connected with sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita). Her shot was deflected wide for a corner kick, and Twining had a look when the service popped out to the top of the box, but her drive twisted wide of the left post.
The pendulum then swung back to the Pilots a minute later, with Kaila Cameli charging on to a through-ball at the top of the area. However, Hight read the play well and as Cameli went to chip the ball over the onrushing netminder, Hight reached up and got a large piece of the shot with her right hand, tipping it wide of the goalmouth before it was cleared from danger.
On the resulting counterattack, Notre Dame raced into the attacking third and eventually earned a free kick in the left channel, 22 yards from goal. Bohaboy cracked a hard shot over the Portland wall that again seemed to have beaten a leaping Dees, but the ball rang equally hard off the underside of the crossbar. It then ricocheted downward, landing less than a yard in front of the goal line and then somehow missing a second carom (this time off an elevated Dees and into the goal), instead spinning away from the line, and subsequently from the scoring zone (75:30).
For all of the building drama and anticipation, the remaining 15 minutes of regulation and both overtime periods proved largely anticlimactic. Neither team was able to create any meaningful looks on goal, and as a result, they would share the spoils in one of the more entertaining nonconference matches of the 2012 season.
Notre Dame will be back on the pitch at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT) Sunday when it travels to Seattle, Wash., to take on No. RV/22 Washington at the Husky Soccer Stadium. It will be the first visit for the Fighting Irish to the UW campus since the 1997 season, and just the second in program history.
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 is 7-4-1 all-time against Portland, including a 4-1-1 record against the Pilots at Merlo Field ... this was the second overtime match between the two schools in their 12-match series history, and the first since Dec. 3, 1995, when the Fighting Irish edged Portland, 1-0 in triple overtime to win the NCAA national championship at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C. ... Notre Dame is 20-6-15 (.671) in overtime matches during the 14-year Waldrum era (1999-present) ... Friday's crowd (4,932) was the largest road audience for a Notre Dame match since Aug. 26, 2011, when 5,236 fans watched North Carolina earn a 2-1 overtime win over the Fighting Irish at Fetzer Feld ... Scofield has scored both goals of her career on the past two Friday nights, and both against West Coast Conference opponents (she had the match-winning goal with 18:25 left to beat No. 24/18 Santa Clara, 2-1 on Aug. 31 at Alumni Stadium on the first night of the Notre Dame adidas Invitational) ... in a strange coincidence, Scofield scored her latest goal on one of her former club teammates, UP goalkeeper Erin Dees, who played with Scofield for the Chicago-based Eclipse Select program ... the Fighting Irish are 22-11-2 (.657) all-time against the current WCC alignment, with a 6-6-2 record when playing WCC schools on the road ... Gilbertson notched her first career assist, after scoring her first career goal on Aug. 26 in a 5-0 win over East Carolina at Alumni Stadium ... this was the third of five consecutive matches against ranked opponents for Notre Dame, with the Fighting Irish currently owning a 1-1-1 record in this stretch (2-1 win over No. 24/18 Santa Clara, 1-0 loss to No. 19 North Carolina on Sept. 2 at Alumni Stadium, 1-1 draw on Friday at No. 19/18 Portland) ... in noting Hight's remarkable nine saves on Friday, it should be mentioned that months after Beene's 15 saves against UNC, she officially had seven saves in Notre Dame's 1-1 4OT draw at Nebraska on Nov. 28, 1999, in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals, and then had two more saves in the penalty kick shootout (statistics in the shootout are not counted, according to NCAA rules), the last coming on Amy Walsh's try in the sixth round to give the Fighting Irish a 4-3 win on penalties and a berth in the '99 NCAA College Cup (the first of eight College Cup appearances in the Waldrum era, and among 12 in program history).
Notre Dame 1 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 1
Total Shots: Notre Dame 16 (9-6-1-0), Portland 17 (7-8-0-2)