Oct. 6, 2013
A few miles from where the Fighting Irish football team fell in the BCS National Championship game back in January, the Notre Dame women's soccer squad suffered the same fate on Sunday afternoon, as the No. 4/3 Fighting Irish lost at Miami (Fla.), 2-0 before a sellout crowd of 507 fans at Cobb Stadium in Coral Gables, Fla.
Hurricane forward Ashley Flinn scored twice for UM in the second half, the first coming in the 52nd minute and the clincher with less than seven minutes to play when Notre Dame was pushing forward in search of the tying goal.
The loss snapped a seven-match unbeaten string for the Fighting Irish (9-2-1, 5-1-1 ACC), who also fell for the first time in seven all-time meetings against Miami. What's more, Notre Dame had allowed just two goals in its first six conference matches, but had that total doubled on Sunday afternoon.
Freshman goalkeeper Kaela Little (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley) made four saves in the Fighting Irish goal, while UM netminder Emily Lillard registered six stops for the home side (7-4, 2-4 ACC).
Notre Dame finished with a 16-13 edge in total shots, while shots on goal were even at 6-6. The Fighting Irish also had a 4-3 advantage on corner kicks, and were whistled for 10 of the 13 fouls on the afternoon, including the day's lone yellow card.
"There's not a whole lot you can say about this one," Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. "All the credit goes to Miami because they really deserved the win. We just didn't show up to play, it's as simple as that. When you aren't ready to go and prepared to compete right from the opening whistle, especially in the ACC, you're going to lose and we did."
Offensive chances were at a premium in the first half, with Notre Dame having a slim 8-7 edge in total shots, while Miami had the upper hand in the shots on goal category (3-2).
While Miami was content to try shots from distance in the opening 45 minutes, the Fighting Irish did have opportunities with a handful of flank runs. In the 20th minute, junior forward Karin Simonian (Westbury, N.Y./W.T. Clarke) threaded the needle with a cross from the right side of the box, finding senior defender/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) making a run towards the back post. However, the cross was slightly behind Tucker, who didn't get full power on her shot as it rolled right to Lillard.
Notre Dame had another look in the 38th minute, as sophomore forward Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy) beat two defenders and crossed for freshman forward Kaleigh Olmsted (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) on a run through the box. Yet, as was the case often on Sunday, the Fighting Irish timing was not there, and Lillard sprang off her line to grab the cross before Olmsted could redirect it on net.
Tucker sent in a cross from the left side in the 41st minute, picking out Thomas on an angled run from the right flank, and the second-year Notre Dame striker rose up to get her head on the cross, but her shot sailed wide of the left post.
Two minutes later, sophomore forward Mary Schwappach (Denver, Colo./Mullen) pulled a low cross from the right end line back towards the top of the box, with the Fighting Irish dummying the ball through the Olmsted, but the rookie's drive from the penalty spot went over the bar.
Notre Dame continued to press the issue early in the second half, but that push would ultimately cost the Fighting Irish as Miami scored on a counter. The ball was played long out of the back to Flinn just past the midfield stripe and she took on a pair of Notre Dame defenders who tried to squeeze her off the ball. However, the Hurricane forward kept her balance and got a step on her markers before firing a shot high into the upper left corner of the net from 12 yards out (51:52).
Now trailing for the first time since their ACC opener at North Carolina State on Sept. 12, Notre Dame continued to send more numbers up in search of the equalizer. Freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H/Milford) had a pair of opportunities in the next 15 minutes, the first a powerful low shot from the top of the box that skipped right to Lillard. She then had a long free kick service from 40 yards out that came too close to the UM goalkeeper, who was able to pluck the ball out of traffic.
Notre Dame's best chance of the day came in the 77th minute, when the Fighting Irish earned consecutive corner kicks. Off the second service, junior defender Sammy Scofield (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) went high at the right edge of the six-yard box and slammed a sharp header, but it was partially blocked by a Miami defender and then cleared from danger.
The Hurricanes sealed the win in the 82nd minute when Flinn intercepted a pass on the left flank. She then muscled past her defender to the top left edge of the box, with the ball temporarily popping free. However, Flinn was able to get to it before a Fighting Irish defender, angling towards the top of the box before hammering a shot into the far right-side netting from 12 yards out (83:10).
Notre Dame continues its three-match ACC road trip at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday when it travels to Charlottesville, Va., for a matchup with top-ranked Virginia at Klöckner Stadium. The match will be televised live on the ACC Digital Network, marking the first time the Fighting Irish have appeared on that outlet since joining the conference.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDsoccer), 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.
Miami 2, #4/3 Notre Dame 0
Notre Dame 0 0 -- 0
UM 1. Ashley Flinn 7 (-) 51:52. UM 2. Flinn 8 (Tara Schwitter) 83:10.
Total Shots: ND 16 (8-8), UM 13 (7-6)
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director