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    Defense Caps Spotless Weekend As #14/13 Irish Blank Northwestern, 2-0

    FIGHTING IRISH Sophomore midfielder Courtney Barg (#17) and junior defender Julie Scheidler (#25) each scored their first goal of the season, as #14/13 Notre Dame shut out Northwestern, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Sophomore midfielder Courtney Barg (#17) and junior defender Julie Scheidler (#25) each scored their first goal of the season, as #14/13 Notre Dame shut out Northwestern, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Sept. 20, 2009

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    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Sophomore midfielder Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano West) and junior defender Julie Scheidler (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard) each scored their first goal of the season -- Scheidler's being the first of her college career -- as the No. 14/13 Notre Dame women's soccer registered its second consecutive shutout with a 2-0 victory over Northwestern on Sunday afternoon in the non-conference finale for the Fighting Irish at Alumni Stadium.

    Barg found the back of the net with an unassisted tally just 6:24 into the contest, and Scheidler nearly duplicated her teammate's feat in the second half, striking pay dirt a mere 4:38 after halftime. Junior forward Lauren Fowlkes (Lee's Summit, Mo./St. Teresa's Academy) earned the assist on Scheidler's goal, giving her at least one point in four of Notre Dame's six home matches this season.

    Senior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) paired with a stout Fighting Irish back line to pitch her second solo shutout of the season, and the team's fifth clean sheet in eight matches this year. Lysander made two saves on the afternoon, in addition to one team save for Notre Dame. Northwestern netminder Carolyn Edwards collected five saves in the match.

    As a team, the Fighting Irish (5-3) outshot the Wildcats, 15-10, including a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal. Notre Dame also earned a slim 4-3 edge in corner kicks, while fouls were nearly even, with NU committing eight of the 14 infractions.

    "This was a good weekend for us," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "We've made improvements in some areas and the progress we're making is encouraging. We looked strong in the early going today, and getting that goal in the first 10 minutes changed the complexion of the game a bit. After that, our defense did its job and kept them from getting too many good looks in the final third. I was also happy to see Courtney get rewarded with her first goal for the hard work she's been putting in, and for Julie to get her first college goal was special, too."

    Barg's early goal was the result of strong pressure off the opening kickoff by the Fighting Irish, who earned a corner kick less than a minute into the match. The scoring sequence actually began as Northwestern attempted to clear its defensive zone, but Fowlkes kept the play alive in the left channel with a toe-poke to Barg 35 yards from goal. The second-year Notre Dame midfielder pushed towards the center of the pitch, and seeing no defender stepping up to challenge her, kept driving ahead before ripping a rising 25-yard strike that beat a leaping Edwards and caught the underside of the crossbar before settling in the net (6:24).

    Seven minutes later, the Fighting Irish were on the attack again, this time with sophomore forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) winning possession deep on the right flank and chipping a ball into the box. Junior forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) beat her mark to the incoming service and cleverly settled the ball with a chest trap near the penalty spot, then quickly turned on her left shoulder and uncorked a dipping right-footed volley that was denied by Edwards' dive to her right near the left post.

    The early flurries continued for Notre Dame, as Fowlkes and Henderson nearly combined for a score two minutes later. Fowlkes carried the ball into the attacking third, then slipped a perfectly-timed through-ball to an onrushing Henderson at the top of the 18'. However, Edwards came charging off her line and got a piece of Henderson' right-footed chip, deflecting it wide of the right post for a corner kick.

    Northwestern (3-5-1) logged three shots in the first half, but none posted a major threat to the Fighting Irish goal. The Wildcats also gained a corner kick with a little more than five minutes to go in the period, but Lysander came out aggressively and was able to punch the cross clear of any danger.

    It didn't take long after halftime for Northwestern to get its first shot on goal of the match. The Wildcats worked the opening kickoff downfield, culminating with a cross from the right end line that Lysander temporarily ejected from the box. NU kept possession and served the ball back into a scrum in the goal mouth, with Jennifer Baumann eventually get a head on the ball and nodding it towards the upper right corner of the net (45:40). However, Notre Dame sophomore defender/tri-captain Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) made with a brilliant defensive play, backpedaling towards the right post and managing to flick a header of her own back off the goal line before the Fighting Irish swept away the remaining loose change in the six-yard area.

    The importance of Schuveiller's play was magnified moments later on the Notre Dame counterattack. Scheidler and Fowlkes worked a pretty-give-and-go sequence, with Fowlkes receiving the initial pass in the right channel and shooting a return to Scheidler on an overlapping run down the flank. The Indianapolis native angled her run toward the edge of the penalty area, then noticed Edwards hugging the near post and lofted a perfectly-placed shot that looped over the Northwestern `keeper's hands and settled into the far left side netting (49:38).

    Now trailing 2-0, the Wildcats turned up their offensive intensity, recording three shots and two corner kicks during the ensuing 15 minutes. Alicia Herczeg had a try at goal in the 53rd minute that was stopped by Lysander, while Northwestern's other opportunities sailed off-target. From that point, the match was contested primarily in the middle third of the pitch, although Baumann had perhaps NU's best offensive chance of the day in the 78th minute, but her hurried header drifted wide of the right post as Lysander came out to challenge.

    Meanwhile, Notre Dame didn't rest on its laurels, forcing Edwards to make three more saves down the stretch. Fowlkes also had a prime chance in the 84th minute, but her left-footed shot from 10 yards away in the goal mouth skipped wide left.

    The Fighting Irish return to BIG EAST Conference play Friday when they travel to Cincinnati for a 7 p.m. (ET) match at Gettler Stadium. Notre Dame then comes back home to welcome Louisville on Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET) inside Alumni Stadium -- that match will be televised live to a national cable audience by CBS College Sports. 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 day.

    -- ND --

    POST GAME NOTES: Although their campuses are separated by less than 125 miles, Notre Dame and Northwestern were playing for only the third time in the sport of women's soccer, and the first since Oct. 13, 1990, when the Fighting Irish downed the Wildcats, 11-1, at old Alumni Field ... Notre Dame is 3-0-0 all-time against Northwestern and has won seven consecutive matches against Big Ten Conference opponents since a 2-1 loss to Penn State on Sept, 23, 2007, also at Alumni Field ... the Fighting Irish move to 158-4-2 (.970) all-time at home against unranked teams (according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll) ... all eight Notre Dame matches this season have been decided by shutout (five for the Fighting Irish, three for the opposition) ... Barg and Scheidler are the fifth and six different goalscorers for Notre Dame this season ... during this weekend's matches vs. DePaul and Northwestern, five different players accounted for the six Fighting Irish goals, while nine players registered at least one point on the weekend ... Barg scored three goals as a freshman last season, with the most notable score being the gamewinner in the 15th minute of the 1-0 NCAA College Cup semifinal victory over Stanford in Cary, N.C. ... Scheidler had tallied seven assists in her career (including one this season), prior to potting her first college goal on Sunday ... Fowlkes' assist on the Scheidler goal was her first of the season, and the second of her career, following a helper on Amanda Cinalli's first-half goal against Princeton on Sept. 14, 2007, at Alumni Field (4-2 ND win); ironically, Cinalli was in attendance at Sunday's match, just days after she was chosen with the fourth overall selection by the Atlanta Beat in the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) expansion draft ... Lysander's shutout was the 13th solo clean sheet of her career, and second of the season after she minded the store in a 2-0 victory over Loyola-Chicago on Aug. 28 in the final match at Alumni Field ... other miscellaneous Notre Dame all-time record watches: 307-0-1 when taking a 2-0 lead in a match (unbeaten and untied in the past 284 such contests); and 379-9-15 (.959) when holding the opposition to 0-1 goals.

     

     

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