Sept. 28, 2012
Junior midfielder/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) set up the decisive sequence with a teasing cross from the left flank, just outside the penalty box. The ball sailed near the top of the six-yard box before deflecting off a retreating Providence defender and rolling into the net, helping the Fighting Irish (8-3-1, 4-0-0 BIG EAST) stretch their winning streak to five matches and pick up their second consecutive shutout (and third in four outings).
Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Voigt (Middleburg, Fla./St. John's Country Day School) was tested through the day by the wet conditions, but was equal to the challenge, making two saves to record her second solo shutout of the season, to go along with two shared clean sheets.
Notre Dame held a 13-10 edge in total shots, as well as a 7-2 advantage in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also piled up a 5-2 margin on corner kicks, while the foul count ended up tilting slightly against Notre Dame (15-12), although Providence did pick up the lone yellow card of the match.
"It was good to get the win, to do it late and to do it in those kinds of conditions," Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. "I think that says a lot about how the team is growing. Those were the kinds of games that we weren't winning last year, and good teams find ways to win games like that. This young group is starting to take on that kind of persona that we're used to seeing with our teams, and for them to get the win like they did today, in a place that was unfamiliar to almost all of them, that's a prime example of the kind of growth we're talking about."
The steady rain showers, which increased in intensity as the match continued, turned the pitch into a slick and muddy track, with particular danger spots in the goal mouths. Yet, neither side managed to create much in the way of scoring opportunities during the day, as the game flow was broken up by passes that skipped away from their intended targets, and a large number of fouls on both sides that resulted in numerous free kick chances.
Notre Dame had arguably the best look from either side during the run of play in the 29th minute, as senior defender/tri-captain Jazmin Hall (Highland Village, Texas/Marcus) made a crafty run down the left side before angling in towards the top of the box. She then slipped a soft through-pass to freshman forward Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip), who was working her way from right to left near the penalty spot. Roccaro got a 1-v-1 look on Providence goalkeeper Jessica Goudreault (who ended up with six saves), but the Friars' netminder stormed off her line and was able to re-direct Roccaro's shot wide and over the by-line for a corner kick.
PC (7-5-1, 2-3-0) seemed content to challenge Notre Dame's defense from distance, the best coming in the 66th minute, when Allison Walton drove a low shot from just outside the top of the box that Voigt tracked well and got down to stop on the wet turf.
After Tucker's cross led to the own-goal that put the Fighting Irish on top at the 82:47 mark, Providence pushed up in a valiant effort to net the equalizer. The Friars had a prime chance with less than two minutes, earning a free kick in the left channel, 30 yards from goal. The service caromed off a PC player and landed at the feet of Lauren Elia, who cracked a sharp rising shot from 16 yards out that sailed just high and wide of the mark, taking the Friars' last scoring threat with it.
Notre Dame winds up its two-match New England road trip at noon (ET) Sunday when it travels to Storrs, Conn., to face Connecticut at Morrone Stadium.
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POST-MATCH NOTES: The Providence own-goal was the first by a Notre Dame opponent since Oct. 10, 2010, when Rutgers did so in a 3-2 Fighting Irish victory at Alumni Stadium ... this marked the first time an own-goal accounted for the only score in a Notre Dame match since the 2000 BIG EAST Championship title match at old Alumni Field (Nov. 5, 2000), when the Fighting Irish took a 1-0 lead on a Connecticut own-goal 12:13 into the match and made it stand up over the final 77-plus minutes to secure the program's sixth BIG EAST tournament crown ... this was the first time a own-goal was the match-winner for the Fighting Irish since Nov. 2, 2008, when Notre Dame benefitted from the first of two Cincinnati own-goals at 1:00 in a 5-0 BIG EAST Championship quarterfinal win at old Alumni Field ... this was the latest deciding goal in a Fighting Irish victory since Oct. 16, 2011, when Melissa Henderson (84:26) and Tucker (88:40) scored to break a 1-1 draw and fuel a 3-1 win over Villanova at Alumni Stadium ... during its current five-match winning streak, Notre Dame has yet to trail and has held those five opponents to a combined 10 shots on goal (2.0 per match), including just five shots on goal in the past four matches (1.25 per match), with a 106-40 overall shot margin ... the Fighting Irish also are 6:23 away from registering five consecutive shutouts during the streak, allowing just late tallies by Louisville (88:16) and Pittsburgh (85:21) after they had taken 2-0 lead in both matches (Sept. 14 and 21 at Alumni Stadium, respectively) ... Notre Dame is 17-0-0 all-time against Providence (8-0-0 at Glay Field) with an 80-2 aggregate scoring margin in the series, which has featured 15 Fighting Irish shutouts.
Notre Dame 0 - 1 - 1
ND 1. Own Goal 82:47.
Total Shots: Notre Dame 13 (6-7), Providence 10 (5-5)