Nov. 7, 1999
PISCATAWAY N.J. - The sixth-ranked Notre Dame women's soccer team
used goals by three different players and took advantage of a Connecticut
own goal to win its fifth consecutive BIG EAST championship with a 4-2 win
over the 13th-ranked Huskies on Sunday at Rutgers’ Yurcak Field. Senior
Jenny Heft and freshman Ali Lovelace tallied second-half goals to lead the
Irish, who earned the BIG EAST's automatic bid for their seventh
consecutive appearance in the NCAA championships as the fifth-seeded team. The Irish receive a first-round bye and will play host to the winner of Wednesday's Evansville-Dayton game on Sunday, Nov. 14, at 1:00 p.m. at Alumni Field. Senior All-American
Jenny Streiffer, who had a goal and an assist in each of Notre Dame's three
wins in the conference championship, was named the BIG EAST championship
most outstanding player.
The Irish held an 11-9 edge in shots over the Huskies at blustery
Yurcak Field but scored on two of their first three shots in the second
half to pull away from Connecticut. Notre Dame improves to 18-3-0 with the
win, while Connecticut falls to 15-7-0 with its second loss to the Irish in
16 days after a 2-1 double overtime loss on Oct. 24. Notre Dame improves
to 12-0-0 all-time in the BIG EAST championship, having beaten Connecticut
in every final from 1995-99 for five straight BIG EAST titles.
Streiffer, who scored the game-winning goal at 6:13 against Seton
Hall in the semifinals, gave the Irish another quick lead at 8:12 against
the Huskies. Senior All-American and two-time BIG EAST defensive player of
the year Jen Grubb won a long service from Connecticut in the back and
dribbled up midfield. Grubb dribbled through the Husky midfield to just
past midfield on the right side. She served the ball to charging Streiffer
from 25 yards on the left wing. Streiffer dribbled to just inside the box
and scored past Connecticut goalkeeper Maria Yatrakis, who came off her
line but could not make the save.
Notre Dame then took a 2-0 lead when on a Connecticut own goal at 36:05.
The Huskies played the ball back to Yatrakis, who came out to control the
ball but it slipped under her heel and went into the lower left corner of the net to
give the Irish a 2-0 halftime lead. The Huskies pulled within 2-1 just
3:22 into the second half when Alexa Borisjuk served a ball over the Irish
back line to Salla Ranta, who settled the ball and lofted a high shot into
the upper left corner from just inside the right corner of the box.
Heft put the Irish ahead by two goals again at 55:37 when she
blasted a shot from 18 yards on the left wing into the upper right corner
of the net. Junior All-American Anne Makinen won the ball at midfield and
dribbled down field before dropping a pass to Heft on the left wing.
Lovelace gave the Irish a 4-1 lead at 71:48 on an open shot from seven
yards near the right post. Heft dribbled into the left side of the box and
passed to Streiffer in front of the net from eight yards. A pair of Husky
defenders closed on Streiffer, who tapped the ball to an unmarked Lovelace,
quickly scoring her third goal of the championship with a blast past goalkeeper
Shanna Caldwell, who replaced Yatrakis to start the second half.
Connecticut's Mary-Frances Monroe closed out the scoring at 85:37
with a shot from 20 yards in the right corner past Irish goalkeeper
Elizabeth Wagner, who replaced senior All-American LaKeysia Beene in the
85th minute. Beene left with three saves for the game.