Sept. 26, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Junior forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) turned in a five-point day with two goals and an assist, leading No. 5/9 Notre Dame to an impressive 5-0 victory at No. 24/18 Louisville on Sunday afternoon at Cardinal Park. It was the largest margin of victory ever recorded by a Fighting Irish team against a ranked opponent on its home field, while the win also extended Notre Dame's NCAA Division I record unbeaten streak against BIG EAST foes to 69 matches (66-0-3).
It was a milestone afternoon for Henderson, whose two scores made her the 15th Fighting Irish player to gain admission into the 40-goal club. Senior forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) and junior midfielder Ellen Jantsch (Kansas City, Mo./St. Teresa's Academy) both opened their seasonal goal accounts by bookending the Notre Dame offensive output, while senior forward Erica Iantorno (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale) added her second goal of the season for the Fighting Irish, and freshman forward Adriana Leon (Maple, Ontario/The Country Day School) capped a strong weekend with two exceptional plays (although uncredited assists) to create the final two Notre Dame scores.
Senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) made three saves in the Fighting Irish net during the first 79-plus minutes before giving way to sophomore Maddie Fox (San Jose, Calif./Leigh), who was not officially credited with a stop, but did have to clear away some loose change in the late going to maintain her team's eighth shutout in 10 matches this season (and second consecutive split clean sheet).
For the second match in a row, Notre Dame (9-1, 3-0 BIG EAST) posted season-high shot totals, with 22 attempts and 16 on goal. Louisville held a slim 4-3 edge in corner kicks, while fouls were nearly even (9-7 against the Fighting Irish. Cardinals' netminder Taylor Vancil went the distance for the hosts and made a season-high 11 saves.
"This was another pretty satisfying effort by our team and more along the lines of what we expect," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "We're doing a better job of making the most of our offensive chances, and our defense had another fine performance holding down a strong ranked opponent like Louisville. I was a bit disappointed with how we came out to start the second half, but we regrouped and closed out the game well, especially Adriana (Leon), who really worked hard to set up those final two goals, even if she didn't get rewarded for it on the scoresheet."
For the third consecutive match, and the fourth time in the past five outings, the Fighting Irish dented the scoreboard within the first 12 minutes of play. Knaack did the honors at 9:06, taking an angled run into the penalty area and volleying a right-side cross by junior defender/co-captain Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) in the lower right corner of the net. It was Schuveiller's second assist of the weekend, and the fourth by a Notre Dame center back -- senior defender/co-captain Lauren Fowlkes (Lee's Summit, Mo./St. Teresa's Academy) had a pair of helpers in Friday's 4-0 victory at home over Cincinnati.
Just past the midway point of the first half, the Fighting Irish doubled their lead, as Henderson netted the first of her two scores. Junior midfielder Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa's Academy) started the sequence by shaking free from her marker on the right side and serving a cross into the heart of the area, with the ball deflecting off a Louisville defender and right to Henderson at the edge of the six-year box, where she toe-poked the ball into the open right side of the goal (23:29).
Louisville (8-2, 2-1) challenged the Notre Dame defense twice in the final six minutes of the first half. Shannon Leamy took a shot from the top of the box at 39:25, with Weiss tracking it well and diving to her left to push the ball wide of the right post. A minute later, Jordan Pawlik tested Weiss from 15 yards out on the left side, but the Fighting Irish goalkeeper came out to cut down the angle and made a sharp reflex save with another dive to her left.
The Cardinals kept up their pressure in the early moments of the second half. Playing into a tricky, swirling breeze, Louisville's Caitlin Rehder lofted a shot from the top left corner of the box, with the ball knuckling in the wind and causing Weiss to be nimble to collect the off-speed try (48:30).
As it turned out, that would be the Cardinals' last shot on goal of the day, while Notre Dame would tack on three goals in the final 20 minutes. Henderson capped off the ninth multi-goal match of her career at 71:08, running on to a well-timed through-ball from freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) in the left channel and poking the ball past Vancil and just inside the far right post. It was the first career assist for Tucker, who also has tallied four goals during her rookie season.
Leon then made her presence felt in the closing moments with strong individual hustle plays to set up her teammates. At 87:45, she worked the ball free at the edge of the attacking third and slid a pass on the left wing to Iantorno, who pushed forward with a couple of dribbles and uncorked a perfectly-placed left-footed shot high into the far right corner of the goal.
Then, in the final minute, Jantsch battled past the Cardinals' back line on a ball over the top and drove a low shot on Vancil, who parried it towards the left end line. Leon never gave up on the play, racing onto the ball and outmuscling a Louisville defender to regain possession before blasting a sharp angle shot that ricocheted off the Cardinal goalkeeper into the empty goalmouth, where a crashing Jantsch was able to slam in the point-blank rebound (89:33).
Notre Dame will kick off a four-match homestand at 7:30 p.m. (ET) Friday as it plays host to Syracuse in a BIG EAST match at Alumni Stadium -- a live webcast, in-game blog and Gametracker stats for that contest will be available through the official Notre Dame athletics web site, www.UND.com.
Tickets for all 2010 Notre Dame soccer matches are available by contacting the Murnane Family Ticket Office by phone (574-631-7356) or in person (Gate 9 in the Rosenthal Atrium at Purcell Pavilion) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) weekdays. Fans also can purchase tickets on-line through the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web page (www.UND.com/tickets) or by visiting the ticket windows at Alumni Stadium on match night.
For more information on the Notre Dame women's soccer program, join the Fighting Irish women's soccer news Twitter page (www.twitter.com/NDsoccernews) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women's soccer page at UND.com.
POST GAME NOTES: Prior to Sunday, Notre Dame's largest margin of victory on the home field of a ranked opponent (according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll) was four goals, set first at #22 Cincinnati on Sept. 14, 1991, and then duplicated at #24 Miami (Fla.) on Oct. 14, 2001, both in 4-0 Fighting Irish victories ... Notre Dame's five-goal victory was its largest against an NSCAA-ranked opponent at any site since Nov. 6, 2005, when the Fighting Irish defeated #15 Connecticut, 5-0 in the BIG EAST final at Marquette ... Henderson's five points were the most for a Notre Dame player against a ranked opponent since Nov. 24, 2007, when Michele Weissenhofer had five points (2G-1A) in a 3-2 win at #4 North Carolina in the third round of the NCAA Championship ... it was Henderson's ninth career multi-goal match and first since her school record-tying four goals against Central Michigan on Nov. 15, 2009, in the second round of the NCAA Championship at Alumni Stadium ... the Fighting Irish improve to 28-0 in Henderson's career (2008-present) when she scores a goal, and 35-0 when she tallies a point, which she's done in 15 of the past 20 Notre Dame matches, dating back to last season ... Henderson moved into sole possession of 15th place on Notre Dame's career goals list (she now has 41, passing U.S. National Team midfielder and 2010 WPS champion Shannon Boxx, who netted 39 goals from 1995-98), and Henderson rose to 19th place on the school's career points list with 94 points (41G-12A), passing both Amy VanLaecke (90 from 1994-96) and Tiffany Thompson (91 from 1991-94) on Sunday; Henderson needs six points to become the 18th Notre Dame player to register 100 career points ... the Fighting Irish are unbeaten in their last 13 Sunday matches (12-0-1) and are 31-2-2 (.914) on Sundays since September 2007 ... Louisville was the third NSCAA Top 25 opponent for Notre Dame this season and the eighth in 10 matches to have either been ranked or receiving votes in either the NSCAA or Soccer America polls at some point this season (the Fighting Irish are 2-1 against Top 25 teams with a 1-0 win over #8/9 Santa Clara at home on Sept. 3, and a 2-1 OT loss at 13th-ranked UCLA on Sept. 10) ... Sunday was Notre Dame's first road win over an NSCAA-ranked opponent since Nov. 27, 2009, when the Fighting Irish blanked #6 Florida State, 2-0 in Tallahassee, Fla., in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals ... Notre Dame won its eighth consecutive series match against the Cardinals and improved to 8-1 all-time against Louisville, including a 4-0 record at Cardinal Park and a 6-0 mark (with a 16-1 scoring margin) since Louisville joined the BIG EAST in 2005 ... the Fighting Irish set season highs for total shots (22 - previous was 20 vs. Cincinnati on Friday), shots on goal (16 - previous was 11 at Loyola Marymount on Sept. 12) and fewest total shots allowed (4 - previous was six on three occasions, most recently on Friday vs. Cincinnati) ... in addition to scoring in the opening 12 minutes in five matches this season (four of the past five), Notre Dame also has potted goals in the first 30 minutes in seven of their 10 contests this year ... five of the nine Fighting Irish goals scored this weekend were by players who netted their first goals of the season (Mandy Laddish, Adriana Leon and Julie Scheidler vs. Cincinnati on Friday; Taylor Knaack and Ellen Jantsch at Louisville on Sunday) ... Notre Dame now has allowed 0-1 goals in 24 of its past 25 matches, dating back to last season ... in this current 25-match defensive stretch, Notre Dame has posted a 22-2-1 record with 18 shutouts (13 solo and five shared by Nikki Weiss), a 60-10 scoring margin and a 0.39 goals-against average (GAA) ... the Fighting Irish rise to 399-10-15 (.959) all-time when holding their opponents to 0-1 goals in a game ... Notre Dame also moves to 321-0-1 all-time when taking a 2-0 lead, including a 298-match unbeaten streak in such games, dating back to a 3-3 tie with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati ... the Fighting Irish continue their uncanny success when scoring three goals in a match, improving to 289-3-1 (.988) all-time in those matches, including a 191-1-0 (.995) record since Oct. 6, 1995.