Oct. 1, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Junior forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) scored two goals for the second consecutive match, and freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) netted the third game-winning goal of her rookie season as No. 5/7 Notre Dame rolled to a 3-0 BIG EAST Conference victory over Syracuse on Friday night at Alumni Stadium. The win extends Notre Dame's NCAA Division I-record unbeaten streak against conference opponents to 70 consecutive matches (67-0-3), with the Fighting Irish also stretching their home winning streak to 20 in a row.
Notre Dame (10-1, 4-0 BIG EAST) rang up a season-high 27-1 shot advantage over Syracuse, including a 13-1 edge in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also took all 10 corner kicks in the match (also a season best), while the Orange were whistled for 14 of the 22 combined fouls and added to their conference-leading yellow card total with three more bookings on Friday.
In addition to the massive shot discrepancy, Notre Dame spread around the offensive wealth, with a season-high four players recorded assists in the match. Junior defender/co-captain Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) set up Tucker's decisive score, with a trio of seniors -- forward Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit), defender Julie Scheidler (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard) and forward Erica Iantorno (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale) -- combining to create Henderson's two goals.
Senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) didn't see a whole lot of action on the night, but did turn aside the one Syracuse shot on goal during her 87-plus minutes between the pipes. For the third consecutive match, sophomore netminder Maddie Fox (San Jose, Calif./Leigh) spelled Weiss late in the contest and was not tested in preserving Notre Dame's ninth shutout in 11 matches this season.
Syracuse rookie goalkeeper Brittany Anghel kept the scoreboard from being even more lopsided with eight saves, while she also benefited from a pair of clearances off the line by her defense and a generous carom off the right post on another first-half shot.
"For the most part, I was pleased with our performance tonight," Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. "We know we're going to see many different tactical approaches throughout the season, and it's up to our players to recognize those different styles and understand how to attack them. Syracuse clearly came out with a defensive mindset, and it took a little while for us to break through it, but our possession and poise were strong in that early going and I was happy with the way we kept our composure when we could have gotten frustrated with all of the close misses. Our sharpness disappeared a little in the first part of the second half, and that's something we'll address, but we did a solid job of regaining control of the pace of play and closing out the night on our terms."
From the outset, it was readily apparent Syracuse (5-5-3, 2-2) had little interest in pushing forward into the attacking third, as Notre Dame kept the Orange bottled up in their half of the field with a steady barrage of shots on goal. In fact, the Fighting Irish unleashed 10 shots in the first 21 minutes, including five on goal, with Anghel making three saves, SU midfielder Tina Romagnuolo sweeping Augustin's eighth-minute shot off the line after Anghel knocked down Henderson's initial foray, and Notre Dame senior Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) being denied by the woodwork on a blast in the box in the 21st minute. Henderson had four shots in the opening 11 minutes, including three on frame that had Anghel scrambling hither and yon to keep her sheet unblemished.
The offensive pressure paid off for the Fighting Irish in the 27th minute, as Schuveiller latched on to a ball on the left flank, drove to the end line and smartly cut past her defender at the edge of the penalty area. She then whipped a cross back into the goal mouth, where Tucker was unmarked eight yards out and cracked a hard low shot underneath a charging Anghel into the net (26:12).
After the goal, Syracuse let up slightly on its defensive posture and did start to make some in-roads on the attacking end. However, the threats were largely gobbled up by a hungry Notre Dame retaining line that had Weiss primarily relegated to taking goal kicks for the balance of the first half. The Orange did get credit for their one and only shot of the night in the 40th minute when substitute Amanda Morris made a wishful try from well outside the box that skipped harmlessly into Weiss' waiting arms.
Syracuse modified its tactics coming out of the locker room and had some longer runs of possession, but the visitors never seriously threatened the Notre Dame net in the second half. Meanwhile, it took the Fighting Irish the first 15 minutes of the period to untangle the Orange defensive puzzle, but the answer came just before the hour mark. Scheidler tracked down a failed Syracuse clearance in the right channel and served a dangerous cross near the top of the box. Augustin rose up and flicked a header onto the back side, where Henderson had gotten behind her defender and quickly drilled a low shot from 10 yards out inside the right post (59:35).
Henderson then capped the night's festivities in the 86th minute, running on to a long left-side service by Iantorno and beating Anghel low into the right corner of the net (85:45).
Notre Dame continues its four-match homestand at noon (ET) Sunday, playing host to St. John's at Alumni Stadium. The match will be televised live to a national cable audience by CBS College Sports, with a live audio broadcast, in-progress stats and a live blog also 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 new 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 site (www.UND.com/tickets) or by visiting the ticket windows at Alumni Stadium on match day.
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: Notre Dame is unbeaten and untied in its first four BIG EAST matches this season, outscoring its conference foes, 14-0 thus far ... since Nikki Weiss became the full-time Fighting Irish starting goalkeeper on Oct. 4, 2009, Notre Dame has gone 13-0-1 against BIG EAST opponents with 11 shutouts and an 0.21 goals-against average (GAA) ... Notre Dame now has allowed 0-1 goals in 25 of its past 26 matches, dating back to last season ... in this current 26-match defensive stretch, Notre Dame has posted a 23-2-1 record with 19 shutouts (13 solo and six shared by Weiss), a 63-10 scoring margin and a 0.38 GAA ... the Fighting Irish rise to 400-10-15 (.959) all-time when holding their opponents to 0-1 goals in a game ... since falling in its Alumni Stadium opener to North Carolina on Sept. 4, 2009, Notre Dame has won its last 20 matches at its sparkling new state-of-the-art facility, posting a 53-2 scoring margin with 18 shutouts in that time (the lone opponent goals were scored by Connecticut's Linda Ruutu on Oct. 16, 2009 and Central Michigan's Molly Gerst on Nov. 15, 2009, both during 6-1 Notre Dame victories) ... the Fighting Irish jump to 171-4-2 (.972) all-time at home against unranked opponents (according to the NSCAA poll) ... this was Henderson's 10th career multi-goal match and her second in a row ... the Fighting Irish improve to 29-0 in Henderson's career (2008-present) when she scores a goal, and 36-0 when she tallies a point, which she's done in 16 of the past 21 Notre Dame matches, dating back to last season ... Henderson moved into a tie for 14th place on Notre Dame's career goals list (she now has 43, equaling the total by program pioneer Susie Zilvitis from 1988-91) ... Henderson is closing in on 18th place on the school's career points list with 98 points (43G-12A), just one behind Amy Warner (99 from 2000-03) and two back of 17th-place Amanda Cinalli (100 from 2004-07); Henderson needs two points to become the 18th Notre Dame player to register 100 career points ... Schuveiller has a career-high three assists this season after notching three helpers in her first two years combined ... Scheidler leads all Fighting Irish backs with 11 assists in the past two-plus seasons, including two this year ... Notre Dame improved to 8-0-0 all-time against Syracuse, including a 3-0-0 series record in South Bend (where the teams were playing for the first time since Oct. 25, 2002); the Fighting Irish have outscored the Orange, 37-3 in series history, posting at least three goals in seven of the eight head-to-head matchups ... Notre Dame rises to 20-0-0 all-time against schools from the state of New York, with a 92-4 scoring margin in those contests ... for the third consecutive match, Notre Dame set season highs for total shots (27 - previous was 22 at Louisville on Sept. 26) and fewest total shots allowed (1 - previous was four at Louisville), while also setting season bests for fewest shots on goal allowed (1 - previous was one at DePaul on Sept. 17) and corner kicks taken (10 - previous was eight against Texas Tech on Sept. 5) ... in addition to scoring in the opening 12 minutes in five matches this season (four of the past six), the Fighting Irish also have potted goals in the first 30 minutes in eight of their 11 contests this year ... Notre Dame also moves to 322-0-1 all-time when taking a 2-0 lead, including a 299-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 290-3-1 (.988) all-time in those matches, including a 192-1-0 (.995) record since Oct. 6, 1995 ... Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum notched his 349th win in 21 seasons as a women's college soccer skipper (349-85-21, .790) and his 425th win in 29 seasons of combined men's/women's college coaching (425-140-28, .740).