NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Seven different Notre Dame players scored goals, including three who collected the first scores of their careers, as the Fighting Irish blitzed Cincinnati, 7-0, in a BIG EAST Conference match on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Stadium. Six of Notre Dame's seven goals came in three pairs of scores that each were less than three minutes apart (including two pairs that were separated by 45 seconds or fewer), with the seven-goal margin and seven goals being the most for the Fighting Irish in a conference match since Oct. 9, 2005, when Notre Dame rang up a similar 7-0 win at Seton Hall.
Freshman forward Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy), junior midfielder/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) and junior midfielder Rebecca Twining (Houston, Texas/Second Baptist School) each tallied a goal and an assist, while sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita) dished out two assists for the Fighting Irish.
In addition, freshman defender Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove), freshman forward Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) and junior midfielder Nicole Rodriguez (Avon, Conn./The Master's School) all scored their first career goals, while junior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit) netted her first score of the season in her first weekend of action after she and Roccaro helped lead the United States to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup title on Sept. 9 in Japan.
The offensive eruption was more than enough to support sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Voigt (Middleburg, Fla./St. John's Country Day School), who earned her first starting assignment of the season and registered one save in 68:46. Freshman netminder Naomi Willett (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente) made her college debut in the final 20-plus minutes of the afternoon and was not called upon to record a save as the Fighting Irish logged their third shutout of the season (and second shared clean sheet). Kristina Utley went the distance in the Bearcat goal, picking up eight saves.
Notre Dame (5-3-1, 2-0 BIG EAST) chalked up a season-high 35 shots and 15 shots on goal, enjoying a 35-9 edge in total shots and 15-1 margin in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also held a 4-3 advantage on corner kicks, while fouls were 8-6 against Cincinnati, which was assessed the lone yellow card of the match.
"We needed one like this and it felt a lot like we normally have it around here," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "For the first time since pieces of last year, it felt like the dominance we're used to seeing. I'm really proud of the kids because with all the (substitutions) we made, we didn't lose anything. All the players played well and we got to play everybody who was healthy.
"I thought Karin Simonian (Westbury, N.Y./W.T. Clarke) was really good today, coming into midfield and having one of her better games for us," he continued. "I thought certainly Sammy (Scofield) and Katie (Naughton) have been much better at center back this whole weekend than they were last weekend, and that was good because we needed to see that. Our goalkeeping continues to be good ... we got Sarah (Voigt) some more game time, had a chance to rest Elyse (Hight) a little bit and Naomi (Willett) has been playing well in practice, so it was good to get her some time. (Cari) Roccaro adds a different dimension to us up front -- she's a player that can hold the ball for us and that changes the game -- and Rebecca Twining was good today, so there are a lot of players to mention."
The Fighting Irish dominated possession throughout the afternoon, patiently slicing through the Cincinnati defense with regularity. Although scoreless through 20 minutes, the match was clearly headed in Notre Dame's direction, with Laddish ringing the crossbar in the sixth minute, and three other Fighting Irish shots just missing the mark. Meanwhile, the Bearcats (3-5-1, 0-2) were credited with four of their nine shots in that early scoreless window, including Katie Greer's low shot on goal from outside the box that skipped harmlessly in on Voigt, and a pair of probing runs from Laura Rose that yielded shots that were off target.
Notre Dame eventually broke the ice in the 22nd minute, starting with a left-side run from Thomas, who nutmegged her defender in front of the Fighting Irish bench and found open space into the attacking third before delivering a cross to the top of the box. Bohaboy one-timed a drop pass for Tucker, who drove her shot off the inside of the left post (21:02).
Just 2:33 later, Tucker helped double the hosts' lead, picking up the ball 25 yards out in the center of the field and working to her right on a weave with Laddish. Tucker left a pass for Laddish playing back to the left, and Laddish took one touch before cracking a rising shot that clipped the underside of the crossbar and settled over the line (23:35).
With both teams making numerous substitutions after that second goal, Notre Dame would outshoot Cincinnati, 8-1 during the remainder of the first half, but Utley held her ground, making two saves in that stretch to keep the margin at a manageable level.
The relief was temporary for the Bearcats, as the Fighting Irish took all doubt from Sunday's outcome with two goals in 45 seconds during the opening seven minutes of the second half. Naughton opened her college scoring account at 50:43, going up to re-direct Bohaboy's corner kick inside the right post, and Thomas followed at 51:28 with her team-high fourth goal of the season (second of the weekend), converting from six yards out on the left side off a well-weighted right-flank cross from Twining.
Notre Dame had one more two-goal flurry in its quiver, this time finding paydirt twice in 41 seconds. After sophomore defender Taylor Schneider (Southlake, Texas/Carroll Senior) had her service from the right side headed away by the Cincinnati defense, the clearance landed right at Twining's feet and she ripped a low laser inside the left post at 72:10. Moments later, Roccaro gathered the ball in the right channel and charged to the top right of the box before she saw Utley creeping off her line and chipped the Bearcat goalkeeper from 18 yards out into the far left side netting (73:01).
The Fighting Irish reserves kept up the pressure and it paid off in the closing minutes, as Simonian lofted a precision service from the right flank and Rodriguez timed her run perfectly, finishing the cross into the right corner of the net (86:52).
Notre Dame continues its season-long four-match homestand next weekend, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (ET) Friday when it welcomes Pittsburgh to Alumni Stadium for a BIG EAST Conference matchup. The Fighting Irish then step out of conference play for the final time in the 2012 regular season, playing host to reigning Summit League Tournament champion Oakland at 1 p.m. (ET) Sept. 23. Both matches will be streamed live and free of charge through the official Notre Dame athletics web site, UND.com.
To purchase a season pass or single-match tickets for the 2012 Notre Dame women's soccer season, call the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356, visit the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets or stop by the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office windows during normal business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday). Tickets also can be purchased at Alumni Stadium on match days.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccer or @NDsoccernews), like the Fighting Irish 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.
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POST-MATCH NOTES: Notre Dame's seven-goal margin is its largest in a single match since Aug. 22, 2008, when it posted a 7-0 win over Michigan at old Alumni Field ... the seven goals (and five goals in the second half) tied the Alumni Stadium record and are the most for the Fighting Irish since Sept. 2, 2011, when they earned a 7-1 home win over Tulsa (scoring five times in the first half of that contest) ... the margin and goals scored are the largest and most for Notre Dame in a BIG EAST match since Oct. 9, 2005 (7-0 win at Seton Hall), the largest and most at home against a BIG EAST opponent since Oct. 31, 2004 (a 7-0 win over St. John's in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals at old Alumni Field), and the largest and most in a BIG EAST regular-season home match since Oct. 12, 2001 (a 7-0 win over St. John's, also at old Alumni Field) ... the seven separate Fighting Irish goal scorers tied a Randy Waldrum era record and are the most in a single match since the aforementioned 2008 win over Michigan at old Alumni Field ... Sunday also marked the second time this season, Notre Dame has had three first-time goal scorers in the same match, having also done so on Aug. 26 in a 5-0 win over East Carolina at Alumni Stadium ... the nine different point scorers are an Alumni Stadium record and the most for the Fighting Irish in a single match since Oct. 26, 2008, when they had 11 different players notch a point in a 6-0 win over Seton Hall at old Alumni Field ... Bohaboy tied the Alumni Stadium with two assists, a mark that now has been set 11 times by Notre Dame players, most recently by Bohaboy herself on Oct. 16, 2011, against Villanova ... the 35 shots and 15 shots on goal are the most for the Fighting Irish since they logged 39 shots and 16 on goal in the 2011 win over Tulsa ... Tucker notches her fifth career multi-point match, and second this season after scoring both goals on Aug. 24 at Tulsa ... Twining posts her first career multi-point match and now has six points this year (2G-2A) after having five total points (1G-3A) in her first two seasons at Notre Dame (all five points came last year) ... Thomas also picks up her first career multi-point match, along with her first career assist on Tucker's 22nd-minute goal ... with the goals by Naughton, Roccaro and Rodriguez, Notre Dame now has had 11 different goal scorers and 13 different point scorers through its first nine matches this season ... the Fighting Irish had a season-high 20 different players see action (all for at least 17 minutes) during Sunday's match ... Notre Dame improves to 13-1-1 all-time against Cincinnati (8-1 at home) with a 66-10 aggregate scoring margin ... the Fighting Irish have scored at least four goals against the Bearcats in 10 of their 15 series meetings, with Sunday's seven goals tying a series high set twice before (most recently on Nov. 16, 1997, in a 7-1 victory in the first round of the NCAA Championship at old Alumni Field) ... Notre Dame has won all nine matches against Cincinnati since the Bearcats joined the BIG EAST in 2005, owning a 41-3 aggregate scoring margin in those contests with six shutouts ... Notre Dame continues its remarkable historical success in two areas -- taking a 2-0 lead (now 336-0-1 all-time; 313 consecutive wins since a 3-3 draw with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati) and scoring three goals in a match (305-3-1 all-time; 207-1 since Oct. 6, 1995) ... the Fighting Irish snapped a rare two-match losing streak on Sundays and now are unbeaten in 27 of their last 32 matches on Sunday (23-5-4), as well as 42-7-5 (.824) in their last 54 Sunday outings ... Notre Dame is off to a 2-0 start in BIG EAST play for the 17th time in its 18 seasons as a conference member (all but 2011).