Sept. 13, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Despite several good scoring opportunities in both halves, a pair of Stanford goals less than three minutes apart early in the second half proved to be enough, as No. 5/7 Notre Dame fell to the No. 3/2-ranked Cardinal, 2-0, on Sunday in second-day action at the Santa Clara adidas Classic, contested at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
In a rematch of last season's NCAA national semifinal contest (won by the Irish, 1-0 in Cary, N.C.), Notre Dame battled emotionally-charged Stanford toe-to-toe during the first 45 minutes and even had the better end of play in the opening stages of the second half. However, the Cardinal's Mariah Nogueira nodded in a free kick (55:13), and Christen Press converted a deflected shot with a goal from close range at 57:58 to send the Irish to their second consecutive loss.
Stanford (7-0) finished with a 16-7 edge in total shots, including a 6-2 margin in shots on goal. The teams also each earned three corner kicks in the match.
Senior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) went the distance between the pipes for Notre Dame, making four saves, all in the second half. Kira Maker recorded the shutout in goal for Stanford, turning aside two shots.
The Irish (3-3) had their share of offensive chances in the opening 20 minutes, the first coming at the nine-minute mark, when freshman forward Tereza Stastny (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) found sophomore linemate Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) on a run down the right channel. Henderson cut back at the edge of the 18 and slotted a ball across the penalty box, but sophomore midfielder Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano West) couldn't quite get a toe on the ball at the penalty spot.
Barg was in the mix again just six minutes later, heading down a long throw-in by junior midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit), with sophomore defender Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) running on to the ball with a sharp blast from eight yards out that was deflected over the end line by the Stanford defense for a corner kick.
The Cardinal got their first good looks near the midway point of the opening half, as Lindsay Taylor's 10-yard volley from a Alicia Jenkins' midfield free kick sailed over the bar. Moments later, Rachel Quon made a run down the right flank, finding Teresa Noyola at the top of the box, but Noyola's shot was blocked by Irish senior defender Haley Ford (Midland, Texas/Midland) and cleared out of danger.
Junior midfielder Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) got free on a through-ball in the left channel, but her angled shot from the left side was cleared out for a corner. Stanford came back with a long ball to Courtney Verloo, who literally shook free of Ford, only to have the ball tackled away by Irish junior defender Lauren Fowlkes (Lee's Summit, Mo./St. Teresa's Academy). Morgan Redman ran on to the deflected ball at the top left of the penalty area, but her hurried attempt to chip an onrushing Lysander went sailing harmlessly over the crossbar.
After neither side registered a shot on goal in the first half, it didn't take long for Notre Dame to get in that column after the intermission. Less than 90 seconds into the second half, sophomore midfielder Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa's Academy) drilled a low 20-yard shot from straight on that rolled into the waiting arms of Maker. Only a minute later, Henderson hit Campbell with an angled ball on the right side, but her subsequent through-ball for Stastny was a touch too much.
Henderson had a try of her own at the 48:45 mark, running on to Augustin's free kick from the left flank and flicking a header that flirted briefly with the far right post.
Stanford then stepped up its attack, first testing Lysander with a pair of probing shots from distance by Press and O'Hara. The Cardinal then got on the board at the 55:13 mark, as Taylor was fouled when she tried to split two Irish defenders outside the right edge of the box. Noyola teed up the ensuing free kick, with Nogueira slicing between defenders and rising for a crisply-struck header from eight yards out into the mid-right netting.
The second Stanford goal was especially frustrating, as it appeared Notre Dame had successfully defended O'Hara's left flank attack. However, the Cardinal forward's well-covered shot from distance deflected off an Irish defender and ricocheted directly to the waiting feet of a crashing Press (the only Stanford player still in the play), who beat Lysander low from point-blank range at 57:58. Taylor was credited with a secondary assist on the play, thanks to a free kick from the midfield stripe that started O'Hara's initial run.
Notre Dame continued to pressure the Cardinal backline, with Barg serving a brilliant ball from 45 yards out on the left wing that found Henderson parked on the penalty spot. However, the Irish attacker tried to take an extra touch to settle the ball and the Stanford defense recovered to sweep the ball clear at 77:15.
Henderson got free again at 81:45, as Fowlkes' long free kick out of the left defensive third sailed all the way to the speedy Notre Dame forward. She quickly tried to chip Maker from the top left of the penalty area, but the Stanford netminder got enough of the shot to knock it out of danger and preserve her clean sheet.
Following Sunday's second match (a 3-1 Santa Clara win over Purdue, giving the host Broncos the tourney title on a 4-3 goal differential over Stanford), Augustin and Ford were named to the all-tournament team.
The Fighting Irish return home for a pair of matches next weekend, beginning Friday at 7:30 p.m. (ET) when they open BIG EAST Conference play against DePaul at Alumni Stadium. Notre Dame then will wrap up its non-conference slate Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET) when it welcomes Northwestern to Alumni Stadium for the teams' first matchup in nearly two decades.