Nov. 3, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
A rested and revitalized Notre Dame women's soccer team improved its all-time BIG EAST Tournament record to 14-0-0 while moving one step closer to a sixth straight conference title, as the top-ranked Irish used a pair of impressive first-half combination plays and an insurance goal early in the second half to defeat Boston College, 3-0, in BIG EAST semi-final action Friday night at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame (19-0-1)-which posted its 14th shutout and 10th in the last 12 games-will face a familiar foe in Sunday's championship game, as 24th-ranked Connecticut (15-5-2) downed Syracuse, 3-0, in Friday's first semifinal. The Irish and Huskies played to a scoreless tie-just the third in Notre Dame history-two weeks ago, on Oct. 21 at UConn's Joe Marrone Stadium.
Sunday's championship game (12:05 EST) will be carried live by six regional sports cable stations, including Fox Sports Net Chicago, Fox Sports Net New England, Fox Sports Net Florida, Madison Square Garden Network, Empire Sports and Comcast Sports Philadelphia. A live internet audio broadcast also may be accessed via the Notre Dame website (www.und.com).
Boston College (14-7-0) failed to register the early goal that had characterized its visit to Alumni Field three weeks ago, when the Eagles scored in the 10th minute to claim what remains the only deficit faced by the Irish this season. Notre Dame controlled Friday's game for a large portion of the 90 minutes, with a 27-4 shot edge-including a 55-minute stretch between BC's first and second shots-and a 12-0 edge in corner kicks.
"We were excited and confident because of how we had played here against Notre Dame in the first game ... but I think you saw a more healthy Notre Dame team and a more rested one," said fourth-year BC head coach Alison Foley.
"A big part of the first game was that we scored first and put them in a situation that they had not faced this season. That worked to our advantage because it put some panic into their game. ... Tonight, when they went ahead 2-0, their confidence level became much higher."
Several players showcased their playmaking and finishing skills, with seniors Anne Makinen and Meotis Erikson each registering a goal and an assist to continue their strong postseason careers while junior midfielder Mia Sarkesian added to her growing resume of big plays by likewise registering a goal and assist.
Notre Dame again utilized the energy of freshman forward Amy Warner off the bench (she missed seven games with a leg injury but has played the last three as a reserve) while senior defender and two-year team captain Kelly Lindsey returned to action by playing the entire second half, after missing the previous six games (the first being the 2-1 BC game) due to a leg injury.
"We came out tonight with great intensity, which is something we lacked in recent weeks," said head coach Randy Waldrum, whose first two Notre Dame teams have combined for a 40-4-2 record. "We're rested and are getting some people healthy-and plus it's playoff time, so you expect to see this type of effort at this time of year. We showed good rhythm throughout the game and I anticipate Sunday's game will be one of great intensity on both sides of the ball."
Sarkesian-much like she had done three weeks ago vs. BC-came up with another big play for what proved to be her fourth game-winning goal of the season, after heading a cross from Erikson into the lower left corner. Makinen's pass down the left side set up the cross, with Erikson quickly playing the ball from the left endline to a wide-open Sarkesian for the 1-0 lead (15:46).
Sarkesian-whose last five goals all have been game-winners-has just eight career goals in 65 games played but most of them have come in big games, including a score for a 2-1 lead in the '99 opener vs. UNC (a 3-2 overtime loss), a goal in the '99 BIG EAST semi-final win over Seton Hall and the lone goal in the 1-0 NCAA quarterfinal win over Stanford. Most recently, her shot from outside the box tied the regular-season win over BC before her volley off a corner kick in the second minute of play sparked a 3-0 win at Syracuse.
"Mia is one of our most consistent players but today she really elevated her play," said Waldrum. "Ashley Dryer did the same thing last week vs. Miami and Anne played one of her most inspired games in a while. When those three are clicking for us in the midfield, it makes the players around them so much better."
The second Irish goal was a textbook combination play, started when Sarkesian deftly threaded a pass forward to the top of the box. Sophomore forward Ali Lovelace-with her back to the goal-then shielded off a BC defender while quickly sweeping the ball to the right side of the box. Makinen had all the space she needed and drilled the shot from 14 yards out into the lower left corner for her team-leading 13th goal of the season and the 64th of her career (43:40).
Makinen's impressive postseason career now includes 40 points (14G-12A) in 22 postseason games, with 23 of those points (9G-5A) coming in 10 BIG EAST Tournament games.
Erikson pushed the lead to 3-0 early in the second half after shaking several BC players near the top of the box before sending a shot in traffic that tucked inside the left post for her 10th goal of the season and 42nd of her career (52:36). Erikson has collected eight points (2G-4A) in four career games vs. BC, with three of her assists helping set up game-winning goals.
"I was really proud of the team because of how we were excited and ready to play. Everyone gave a great effort," said Erikson. "Part of being successful at combination plays is not just reading when they are on but also having people move off the ball to complete the play. That's what happened tonight. People were making runs for each other and it led to our first two goals."
NOTES: More than half of Lovelace's career points (10 of 19, 4G-2A) have come in the postseason ... ND started sophomore Vanessa Pruzinsky at the central D spot for the second straight game while senior Monica Gonzalez again had a solid game as the starting left back ... the Irish lead the BC series 6-0-0, with a 19-3 scoring edge and 161-17 shot edge (102-10 in the last four) ... ND has held 13 opponents to 0-2 shots on goal this season (BC's only shot on net came in the 74th minute, vs. backup G Lauren Kent) ... junior G Liz Wagner lowered her NCAA-leading season goals-against average to 0.281 and will carry a 580-minute shutout streak into the UConn game ... ND is 27-0-1 in its last 28 games vs. BIG EAST opponents (69-3-2/.946 since joining the BIG EAST in '95) ... ND dropped its nation-leading team GAA to 0.292 and has allowed just 3G in the last 15-plus games (1,428 minutes) ... the Irish have posted 22 straight wins at Alumni Field and own a 114-7-1 (.939) record in 11 seasons at the facility (90-3-1 in the last 94 and 79-1-0 all-time vs. unranked teams, with 72 straight wins) ... ND's 20-game unbeaten streak is four shy of the team record (set in '95-'96, tied in '97) ... Makinen has nine points (3G-3A) in the last five games-pushing her career total to 183 (64G-55A), 5th in ND history and just six points behind '97 grad Cindy Daws and 2000 grad Jenny Heft ... she is 5A shy of becoming the sixth Division I women's soccer player ever to reach 60G and 60A ... ND has notched 1st-half goals in 15 of 20 games this season ... updated season stat edges: 67-6 in scoring, 503-111 on shots (25-6 avg.), 288-53 in shots on goal (14-3 avg.), 137-42 in CKs (7-2 avg.) ... ND is 32-3-1 all-time when playing as the No. 1-ranked team ... Erikson has played in all 96 games of her ND career and is tied with Heft for 10th on the ND games played list, one behind Kate Sobrero ('98) ... Erikson's career postseason numbers: 28 pts (9G-10A) in 22 GP, with 18 pts (6G-6A) in 10 BET games ... Erikson's 156 career points (57G-42A) tie her with Michelle McCarthy ('96) for 7th on the ND all-time scoring list ... ND is 29-1-2 in its last 32 games.
BOSTON COLLEGE (14-7-0) 0 0 - 0
#1 NOTRE DAME (19-0-1) 2 1 - 3
ND 1. Mia Sarkesian 4 (Meotis Erikson, Anne Makinen) 15:46, ND 2. Makinen 13 (Ali Lovelace, Mia Sarkesian) 43:40, ND 3. Erikson 10 (unassisted) 52:36.
Shots: BC 4, ND 27.
Saves: BC 10 (Courtney Schaeffer), ND 1 (Liz Wagner 0, Lauren Kent 1).
Corner Kicks: BC 0, ND 12.
Fouls: BC 6, ND 8.
Offsides: BC 0, ND 0.