November 6, 1998
STORRS, Conn. - Five different players scored to lead the three-time defending BIG EAST champion and fifth-ranked Notre Dame women's soccer team to a 5-1 win over Syracuse in the BIG EAST championship semifinals at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium at the University of Connecticut on Friday. The Irish will face host Connecticut, who beat Boston College 2-0 in the first semifinal, on Sun., Nov. 8, at 12:00 p.m., in the championship game, which will be televised live on various Fox Sports affiliates, including Fox Sports Chicago.
Notre Dame outshot Syracuse 18-5 in the contest as it beat the Orangewomen for the second time in the six days after a 7-0 win at Notre Dame on Sun., Nov. 6. The Irish took a 3-0 lead into halftime and scored twice in two minutes to build a 5-0 lead in the 57th minute. Syracuse scored its first goal against Notre Dame in 266 minutes over the three games the teams have played at 86:14 to close out the scoring. The Irish improve to 18-2-1 and 8-0-0 all-time in the BIG EAST championship games. Syracuse falls to 13-6-1.
The Irish and Huskies will meet in the championship game for the fourth straight year. Notre Dame won 1-0 in 1995 at Seton Hall, 4-3 in 1996 at home and 6-1 in 1997 at Rutgers to claim its three BIG EAST titles. The Irish never have lost a conference championship, dating back to their Midwestern Collegiate Conference titles in 1993 and 1994.
Sophomore Meotis Erikson put the Irish on the board first at 22:49 with the volley from point-blank range. Junior Jenny Streiffer crossed a ball from the top left corner of the box to the junior Jenny Heft at the far post. Heft headed the ball to an unmarked Erikson in front of the net for the first score.
Monica Gerardo scored her Notre Dame record 69th goal of her career and the game-winning goal at 34:38. Gerardo won a loose ball just beyond midfield and dribbled into the box and fired a shot from just inside the right corner of the box for a score into the lower left corner of the net. Senior midfielder Shannon Boxx made it 3-0 at 36:28 when she volleyed in a corner kick from junior defender Jen Grubb.
Notre Dame struck quickly in the second half with two goals in a span of 1:37 to broke the game open. Sophomore midfielder Anne Makinen connected on a free kick from 20 yards at the top of the box at 55:15. Sophomore defender Kelly Lindsey then closed out the scoring for the Irish with a header from a header by Makinen off a corner kick by Grubb at 56:52. Syracuse's Jennifer Mena tallied the Orangewomen's only goal at 86:14